AG blasts attempts to connect PM to US bid to seize 1MDB-linked assets

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali (pictured) has clarified that the US Department of Justice’s civil action to seize assets linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd did not involve Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. — File pic
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali (pictured) has clarified that the US Department of Justice’s civil action to seize assets linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd did not involve Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The US Justice Department’s civil suit to seize assets linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) does not identify Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali said today.

The Attorney-General acknowledged the lawsuit initiated yesterday by the US Justice Department (DOJ) over alleged money laundering, but insisted that the prime minister was not directly linked to any investigation either locally or abroad.

“The Attorney General also expressed his strong concerns at the insinuations and allegations that have been made against the Prime Minister of alleged criminal wrongdoing in relation to the civil action in rem filed by the US DOJ.

“The Attorney General intends to clarify that at no point in the civil claim filed by the US DOJ is the Prime Minister named as a defendant or have been alleged to have committed any criminal wrongdoing,” he said in a statement.

Apandi today reiterated that local investigations by multiple agencies did not uncover any criminal activity at 1MDB and no criminal prosecution has been initiated in any jurisdiction over the same matter.

He added that his office has not received any requests for cooperation from the DOJ, but would welcome any.

Apandi also echoed an earlier message from the Prime Minister’s Office that any crime detected in 1MDB would be punished to the full extent of the law.

“Any wrongdoing must and will be punished. Malaysia will always uphold the rule of law.”

The US DOJ filed a civil lawsuit yesterday seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets linked to what it described in a press statement as an “international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated” from 1MDB, the largest case ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

US prosecutors said more than US$3.5 billion in 1MDB funds were allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of the local state investment firm and their associates between 2009 and 2015.

According to complaints that US prosecutors highlighted, the funds allegedly embezzled and laundered into the US were purportedly used to buy luxury properties in New York, Los Angeles and London, paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, a US$35 million jet, as well as gambling debts in Las Vegas.

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