United Arab Emirates
April 20, 2016
A leading critic of Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak said corruption had reached levels never seen before in the country and urged foreign governments linked to the controversy surrounding a state investment fund to make their findings public.
1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Mr Razak, is under investigation in at least five countries including Switzerland and the US over allegations of money laundering and embezzlement.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at one time the country’s longest-serving prime minister, said the investigations into the 1MDB fund were not just a problem for Malaysia.
“Being diplomatic isn’t going to help Malaysia or anyone else,” he said on the sidelines of the International Conference on Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Dubai yesterday. “They must recognise action needs to be taken and do what is necessary.”
Dr Mohamad, who was in his post between 1981 and 2003, said the scandal around the Malaysian fund threatened the Asian nation’s international reputation and hurt foreign direct investment.
“All inquiries should eventually be made public because inquiries that are kept secret are of no use to anyone,” he said.
“Eventually things will have to be revealed.”
Last week, Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) said neither itself nor its Aabar unit had any connection to a firm incorporated in the British Virgin Islands that was named in a report into the controversy surrounding the Malaysian fund.
In May 2015, Ipic had agreed to provide the Malaysian fund US$1 billion to meet some of its liabilities in exchange for assets while at the same time taking on interest payments on about $3.5bn in debt.
But the Abu Dhabi fund now says 1MDB is in default on the terms of the agreement.