1MDB has done no wrong: AG
MALAYSIA'S Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali said yesterday he was right to ignore a call for investigation by the country's central bank into state-owned investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying there was no evidence that the fund's officials had knowingly flouted the law.
On Friday, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said it had urged the Attorney-General to prosecute 1MDB, saying the fund had breached regulations in securing three permits between 2009 and 2011 to remit US$1.83 billion (S$2.6 billion) overseas by giving it inaccurate or incomplete information.
The central bank's statement raised the pressure on 1MDB, which is basically under the control of Prime Minister Najib Razak and has now become his biggest political stain, with its debt of nearly 42 billion ringgit (S$14 billion) and alleged involvement in financial graft.
However, Mr Apandi said yesterday that at no point in time had the central bank tried to stop 1MDB's overseas transactions, reported Reuters.
Nor had BNM required 1MDB to provide details of the account numbers it was sending money to, or outline the manner in which the funds would be channelled, the Attorney-General added.
"Since there was no requirement, the omission on 1MDB's officials' part to disclose is not an offence," said Mr Apandi at a press briefing.
Mr Apandi was appointed Attorney-General in late July, replacing Abdul Gani Patail, who was then one of four members of a high-level task force probing the discovery of RM2.6 billion in Mr Najib's personal bank account.
On Friday, the BNM also asked 1MDB to repatriate the US$1.83 billion back to Malaysia.
"The bank has revoked three permissions granted to 1MDB under the ECA (Exchange Control Act) for investments abroad totalling US$1.83 billion and also issued a direction under the Financial Services Act 2013 to 1MDB to repatriate the amount of US$1.83 billion to Malaysia and submit a plan to the bank for this purpose," the online news portal Malaysia Chronicle quoted BNM's statement as saying.
However, 1MDB has said the sum has been spent or earmarked for debt settlement arrangements.
The money was originally used for equity and loan investments in a joint venture with oil company PetroSaudi between 2009 and 2011.
On Monday, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and several key leaders of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) called for a swift resolution to the 1MDB scandal, signalling a further divide within Umno, now headed by Mr Najib.