FBI Joins List of Foreign Authorities Investigating Malaysia’s 1MDB

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States has launched its own investigation into allegations of money-laundering at troubled 1Malaysia Development Berhard (1MDB), Malaysia’s state fund.

The FBI joins a list of international authorities that are looking into the money-laundering accusations at 1MDB although the scope of its investigation was not clear. The report by the Wall Street Journal, however, came after an arrested former official of Umno said he was scheduled to meet FBI agents in the US.

Both the FBI and 1MDB did not comment on the news.

If the report is true, the FBI is the latest foreign authorities to join in investigations, following those initiated by Hong Kong, Britain, Singapore and Switzerland.

In a meeting with Malay NGOs last week, Tun Dr Mahathir, who has been leading the calls for the resignation of Malaysia’s Prime Minister, said if foreign authorities find those involved guilty of doing money laundering activities, they can ask Interpol to make arrests.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been dogged by controversy over its USD11bn debt and alleged financial mismanagement.

Swiss authorities earlier announced that they had 1MDB funds in Swiss banks, amounting to several tens of millions of dollars.

The move came as both Swiss and Malaysian authorities are conducting investigations concerning the troubled state investment fund, Reuters reported.

The fund, whose advisor board is chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been hit by controversy over its USD11bn debt and alleged mismanagement of funds.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) confirmed to Reuters that it has frozen assets amounting to several tens of millions of US dollars on Swiss bank accounts.

The spokeswoman added that the OAG is currently analysing and consolidating evidence related to the controversy.

The OAG opened the investigation based on two notifications of suspicious transaction reports by the Swiss financial intelligence unit MROS. 1MDB, however, announced that none of the company’s bank accounts have been frozen. – BusinessNewsAsia.com