What is 1MDB?
- 1MDB - 1Malaysia Development Berhad, is a strategic development fund set up by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 when he entered into office.
- The fund was meant to transform Kaula Lumpur into a financial hub by forging global partnerships and promoting FDI.
- Najib chaired 1MDB's board and also headed the Ministry of Finance, which fully owned the company.
Controversy over debt
- Critics of the 1MDB fund pointed out that it took on too much debt and lacked transparency.
- 1MDB had raised money in bonds and moved large sums to offshore accounts.
- The fund which financed itself through issuing debt (via bonds), today owes more than $11 billion. This year 1 MDB rescheduled its debt repayments.
- There are 4 ongoing investigations into its activities.
1MDB controversy threatens PM
- It was alleged that 1MDB fund indirectly supported PM Najib's election campaign in 2013.
- The fund reportedly paid an inflated price for assets acquired from a Malaysian company. This company then made donations to Najib-led charity which spent money on schools and projects.
- These concerns have led to a confrontation between Najib and his mentor, Mahathir Mohammad who publicly asked for Najib's resignation.
Money channelled to PM's bank account?
- Wall Street Journal reported that Malaysian investigators had traced nearly $700 million of deposits into the personal bank accounts of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, according to documents from a government probe.
- This was the first time PM Najib was directly connected to the probes into 1MDB.
- The investigation did not detail what happened to the money that went into Najib's accounts.
Contribution of the blog - Sarawak Report
Sarawak Report, a blog ran several reports about 1MDB's business dealings. Together with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, Sarawak Report completed an in-depth investigation into the trail of the missing billions at the heart of Malaysia’s 1MDB financial scandal.
Malaysian authorities freeze 6 bank accounts
- A special task force investigating the scandal said it had frozen 6 bank accounts following WSJ's report. It did not specify the banks involved or the names of the account holders though.
- According to sources, 3 of the accounts belong to Najib.
- Task force also seized documents related to 17 accounts from 2 banks.
- Najib who refuted the allegations, was considering legal action.
WSJ stands by its reports on 1MDB expose
- Dow & Jones Company, the publisher of 'The Wall Street Journal' said that they have responded to the request of clarification from PM Najib Razak's lawyers.
- The publisher said that they would continue to stand by the accuracy of their reports.
- The firm was given 14 days to respond to lawyers' letter seeking clarification on WSJ's accusation against Najib, linking him to 1MDB scandal.
PM Najib sacks deputy over 1MDB scandal
- Malaysian PM Najib Razak sacked the deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin, following the latter's criticism of Najib's handling of allegations surrounding 1MDB.
- Four other ministers have also been replaced in a cabinet reshuffle.
- Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail, who led the investigation into the scandal, was also removed.
- Najib has stacked his cabinet with supporters and attempted to silence his critics over the 1MDB scandal.
Malaysian anti-corruption commission clears PM of allegations
- PM Najib was effectively cleared by the country's anti-corruption body, the Malaysian anti-corruption commission (MACC).
- MACC said that $700 million in accounts held by the PM had come from donors - not, as has been alleged, from the debt-laden state development fund, 1MDB.
- However, it did not provide any further information regarding the identity of the donors or how the funds were spent.
1MDB sparks protests against PM in Malaysia
- Thousands of Malaysian protested over the weekend in Malaysia calling for PM Najib Razak to step down over 1MDB scandal.
- The rally began on Saturday and continued into Sunday.
- Apart from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, the pro-democracy group - Bersih had also called for protests in the cities of Kota Kinabalu and Kuching on the Malaysian side of Borneo.
Saudi royals gave Najib $681 million 'personal donation'
- Malaysia's Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali said Saudi Arabia's royal family gave Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak a $681 million gift.
- At a press conference, he stated that he was satisfied that "no criminal offence" had been committed in relation to the funds.
- He added that Najib returned $620 million of the cash to his Saudi donor as it "wasn't utilized."
1MDB: A billion dollar scandal; former Premier leaves Party
- The Wall Street Journal reported that more that $1billion had been transferred into Malaysian Premier Razak's account (as opposed to previously stated $681 million) between 2011-13.
- Notably, the former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad declared that he was leaving the ruling party (UNMO).
- He claimed that the UMNO had deteriorated into an institution whose primary objective was to shield the scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak.
DiCaprio willing to co-operate after links to 1MDB scandal
- In the unending saga of the 1MDB scandal, actor Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to return any money or gifts that he may have received from kickbacks from the 1MDB scandal.
- It emerged that money from the 1MDB scandal was used to finance Wolf of Wall Street, buy expensive artwork and luxury properties in the US.
- DiCaprio agreed to co-operate with US Justice Department investigations.