by Austin Ramzy
New York Times
July 7, 2015
HONG KONG — Officials in Malaysia said on Tuesday that they had frozen bank accounts as part of an investigation into the country’s troubled development investment fund and accusations that hundreds of millions of dollars from the fund had been transferred to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Government investigators have been looking into the finances of the heavily indebted 1Malaysia Development Berhad, also known as 1MDB. News reports have said that some of its funds have been routed to accounts controlled by Mr. Najib.
Citing documents from the inquiry, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that investigators had found documentation of nearly $700 million in deposits to accounts they believe are controlled by Mr. Najib. The newspaper said the documents did not describe the source of the funds or what happened to them after they were suspected of being transferred to the Najib-controlled accounts.
In a statement on Tuesday, Malaysian authorities said they had frozen six accounts and had taken documents related to 17 accounts at two banks on Monday. The statement did not name the banks or the account holders, but it did say that the actions were connected to allegations against the prime minister.
The statement was issued by Malaysia’s attorney general, the governor of Malaysia’s central bank, the inspector general of Malaysia’s police and the head of the country’s anticorruption commission.
1MDB has denied that any of its funds have gone to the prime minister. Mr. Najib has denied any wrongdoing, but he has not addressed the specifics of the allegations.
The claims of corruption have stirred opposition to Mr. Najib and led to calls for further inquiries. Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister and onetime ally of Mr. Najib, told The New York Times last month that “the apparent disappearance of huge sums of money” was “not good.”
Malaysia’s state-run Bernama news agency quoted Mr. Najib as saying on Monday: “I did not betray the people. I will find ways to uphold the truth. Be calm, the truth will prevail.”