Najib Razak's former special officer arrested over 1MDB probe

Najib Razak's former special officer arrested over 1MDB probe

Najib special officer
The unnamed man had served with a government-linked company prior to being appointed as a special officer to Najib in 2009. (Photo: Bernama)

PUTRAJAYA: A former special officer of former prime minister Najib Razak has been arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to assist in its investigation into a case related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Channel NewsAsia understands that the man arrested is 42-year-old Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

On Monday, a magistrate's court granted an application by anti-graft officials to remand the man for a week to assist in their investigations into 1MDB.

The man, described as having worked for Najib since 2009, was arrested on Sunday night after giving a statement at the MACC headquarters in the administrative capital of Putrajaya.

According to MACC investigation papers, about US$500,000 was paid out from Najib's account into Amhari’s company account in 2014.

Amhari had served as Economic Department Director at Najib's office. He was also responsible for strategic communications on social media.

Earlier this month, Malaysia's new attorney general said his office was studying possible criminal and civil action in the 1MDB case, after receiving investigation papers on the state fund from the anti-graft agency.

Former prime minister Najib, who founded 1MDB, is the subject of a money laundering probe. Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Najib, in some of his most extensive comments yet on the 1MDB scandal, told Reuters last week that he did not know if hundreds of millions of dollars that moved through his personal account was from 1MDB, and if money from the fund was eventually laundered to acquire assets globally, including yachts, paintings, gems and prime real estate.

Transactions involving 1MDB are being investigated in half a dozen countries, including the United States, where it has become the biggest case pursued by the Department of Justice under its anti-kleptocracy programme.

The US Department of Justice has alleged in lawsuits that more than US$4.5 billion from 1MDB was laundered through a complex web of transactions and shell companies, of which US$681 million ended in Najib's bank account. Najib says the money in his account was donations from Saudi Arabia, most of which he returned.

According to the US justice department, assets purchased using 1MDB money include a Picasso painting, luxury real estate in South California and New York, shares in a Hollywood production company and a US$265 million yacht, and more than US$200 million worth of jewellery - including a 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace.

Source: CNA/Bernama/Reuters/zl