Newspaper article International New York Times

Swiss Find Troubling Signs at Fund in Malaysia ; Inquiry Cites Evidence of Misappropriation from State-Owned Companies

Newspaper article International New York Times

Swiss Find Troubling Signs at Fund in Malaysia ; Inquiry Cites Evidence of Misappropriation from State-Owned Companies

Article excerpt

Days after Najib Razak was cleared of wrongdoing by his attorney general, the Swiss said they have evidence of $4 billion in misappropriated funds.

Days after the prime minister of Malaysia was cleared of wrongdoing in a Malaysian investigation into transfers of money into his bank accounts, the Swiss government has announced that it had found serious indications that funds had been misappropriated from Malaysian state-owned companies.

The sovereign wealth fund at the center of the Swiss inquiry, called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, has been the focus of several investigations around the world as the authorities attempt to ascertain whether money vanished in a series of international business deals.

The sovereign fund is overseen by Najib Razak, Malaysia's prime minister, and it has become a political target in his country, where his opponents have pushed aggressively for his removal.

The statement on Friday by the Swiss authorities is the strongest comment by law enforcement that there is significant evidence of wrongdoing related to the Malaysian state-funded companies. 1MDB and its web of business deals were featured in an investigation by The New York Times a year ago of properties in the United States owned by people close to the prime minister.

"We believe we have compiled significant evidence of illegal transactions and wrongdoing which we will transmit to the respective Malaysian authorities in the coming days," Andre Marty, a spokesman for the Swiss attorney general, said in an email.

The Swiss attorney general formally requested help from Malaysia in its investigation, and Mr. Marty said that his office hoped that Malaysia would provide that assistance. He said that Malaysia's attorney general had agreed to do so in a meeting in Switzerland in September.

Since then, however, Malaysian law enforcement has moved toward closing the investigations into Mr. Najib. The announcement last week focused on questions surrounding nearly $700 million that had been deposited in Mr. …

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