Dr M hopes US$7b from 1MDB funds will be returned to Malaysia

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a press conference at Al-Bukhary Foundation in Kuala Lumpur May 3, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a press conference at Al-Bukhary Foundation in Kuala Lumpur May 3, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he hopes the Malaysian government will be able to receive a total of US$7 billion (RM28 billion) of 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) squandered funds from various sources around the globe.

The prime minister voiced his hope during a press conference after the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting today.

“I heard about this and I think they know it is our money. So they will give back our money. Singapore will also give back our money,” said Dr Mahathir when asked to comment on the US authorities’ pledge to return US$200 million of funds believed to have been misappropriated from 1MDB.

“We are hoping to get back US$7 billion,” he added.

Earlier today, financial news outlet Bloomberg reported that the US$200 million would include US$140 million from the sale of a stake in New York’s Park Lane Hotel and around US$60 million from a settlement paid by the producer of the Wolf of Wall Street film.

In a separate report, Bloomberg said Singaporean authorities are also planning to return around S$35 million linked to 1MDB previously given up by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Roger Ng and his family.

In total, the money returned from both the US and Singapore will amount to around US$226 million, or RM936 million.

According to Bloomberg, the transfer from the US could happen as early as next week.

Authorities in at least six countries are investigating suspected money laundering and graft linked to 1MDB, set up in 2009 by the then prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Najib, who lost power in last year’s general election, is facing more than 40 criminal charges related to losses at 1MDB and other government entities. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.