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    Jul 22, 2015

    Businessman nabbed in 1MDB probe


    A 39-YEAR-OLD businessman might be the first person to have been detained in connection with the ongoing probe on debt-ridden state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) for possible financial irregularities, the Malaysian media reported.

    The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which arrested the man while he was waiting to board a plane for Taiwan at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday, confirmed yesterday that the detention was linked to the investigation into 1MDB by a special task force, reported news website Malaysiakini.

    MACC, which is part of the task force, said the man was a director of a "construction and development company". His lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, told The Straits Times yesterday that a magistrate court ordered his client - whom he named as Jerome Lee - to be remanded for four days, citing "national interest".

    News website Malaysian Insider, quoting sources, said the man's company had dealings with SRC International, a company linked to 1MDB.

    SRC International was a subsidiary of 1MDB until it was placed under the Finance Ministry in February 2012, said Malaysian Insider.

    It had also taken a government-backed loan of RM4 billion (S$1.4 billion) from the government pension fund KWAP, said the website.

    Opposition politicians have called for greater transparency in the dealings of SRC International, saying they had been kept under wraps.

    SRC International was named by United States-based Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in its July 2 expose as one of the 1MDB-linked companies that had allegedly helped to funnel funds into Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal bank accounts.

    Meanwhile, Mr Najib's counsel Wan Azmir Wan Majid said WSJ has yet to reply to the PM's letter, which demanded that it clarify its expose and state whether it was implying that he had embezzled state money.

    Mr Wan Azmir told Sin Chew Daily that Mr Najib would decide on the next course of action should WSJ not reply by today, which could include suing it for defamation.

    "But it's still too early to talk about the next step as the PM would have to look at very facet of the issue before making a decision," said the lawyer. AGENCIES