KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has for the first time admitted that Saudi Arabia did indeed donate to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his press secretary said today.
Datuk Seri Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad said today’s admission comes after the US-publication denied the fund came from Saudi Arabia and attacked all those with contrary statements for nearly a year.
“Today, for the first time, the Wall Street Journal has been forced to admit that at least some of the funds donated to the Prime Minister came from Saudi Arabia,” he said in a statement today.
Tengku Sariffuddin claimed that WSJ’s previous reports exposed bias in its reporting and showed that their coverage was not driven by an impartial desire to cover the facts.
“Instead, their reporting was based on false information they were willingly fed by Tun Mahathir’s Anti-Najib Campaign,” he said, adding that the news outlet’s alleged embarrassment could have stopped it from fully accepting the assertion that the money was a donation from Saudi Arabia.
“However, today is a small step towards the WSJ admitting that they have been wrong all along – and that they were wrong to base their reporting on unnamed and anonymous sources who have never been revealed and may not even exist,” he said.
In his statement, Tengku Sariffuddin had noted the Attorney-General’s statement as confirming that the funds was donated by the Saudi royal family, pointing out that the Attorney General had reviewed the exhaustive investigations and examined all the evidence – including wire transfers and interviews with the Royal Family.
“Neither the confirmation from lawful Malaysian authorities, nor the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, nor reputable outlets such as the BBC and Daily Telegraph, was enough to make the WSJ stop their attacks or denials that any of the funds had come from Saudi Arabia,” he said earlier in his statement.
The WSJ today published the latest report in its series on 1MDB, this time claiming that the prime minister paid for personal expenses from the private accounts in which it alleged 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had deposited hundred of millions of dollars.
The US paper was the first to reveal that US$680 million had been deposited into the PM’s accounts prior to Election 2013, but local investigators have since declared the sum to be a gift from an Arab royal, the bulk of which has been refunded.
The Prime Minister’s Office yesterday said that this was confirmed by leaked documents published in a report by the Four Corners Australian news programme.
1MDB today rejected WSJ’s claim and said it was a repeat of old allegations which the publication had not substantiated, also stating that the funds previously revealed as deposited in Najib’s accounts have been shown through various investigations as having originated from the Middle East.