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    Jul 23, 2015

    '1MDB linked' accounts frozen, S'pore confirms


    SINGAPORE police yesterday confirmed that they had frozen two bank accounts which might have been involved in money laundering connected to debt-ridden Malaysian state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    Meanwhile, in Malaysia, a second businessman has been remanded to assist in the investigation into corruption allegations involving 1MDB.

    In a statement sent to Agence France-Presse yesterday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said: "We understand that the Malaysian authorities have launched investigations into certain matters related to 1MDB."

    The probe on 1MDB has apparently switched from finding out its management ills to determining whether its funds had been misappropriated following a July 2 report by the United States-based Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    According to the report, investigators had uncovered the movement of nearly US$700 million (S$950 million) - through government agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB - to Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal accounts.

    "Singapore will continue to provide our full assistance and share information with the relevant authorities in Malaysia, within the ambit of our laws and international obligations," said SPF.

    SPF did not identify the bank accounts and said it would not provide further details as investigations were ongoing.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore said this week it is looking into whether banks implicated in the 1MDB issue had followed rules on properly identifying customers and their sources of funds, and on reporting suspicious transactions.

    In Malaysia yesterday, Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman, the 54-year-old managing director of Ihsan Perdana - a 1MDB-linked company - was ordered to be remanded for five days, the Malaysian Insider news website reported.

    Mr Shamsul was picked up on Tuesday at a shopping mall and was questioned at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, where he was arrested.

    Ihsan Perdana is a company that undertakes corporate social responsibility programmes for 1MDB's charity foundation.

    Ihsan Perdana, SRC International and Gandingan Mentari are three companies mentioned in the WSJ report as links in a money trail channelling RM42 million into Mr Najib's accounts in AmBank.

    Businessman Jerome Lee, who is said to have had dealings with SRC International, was arrested on Monday and was remanded for four days starting on Tuesday.

    Checks showed that Mr Lee was group executive director of Putrajaya Perdana, a planning and development company involved in developing Putrajaya.

    Another money trail involving US$681 million was reported by WSJ to have run through Tanore Finance, a company in the British Virgin Islands, and Falcon Private Bank in Singapore.