January 07, 2020

Recordings Show Najib’s Effort to Seek Help on 1MDB Scandal
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysian investigators played audio recordings of former premier Najib Razak seeking help from people including a member of Abu Dhabi royalty and former prosecutors to try to untangle himself from the 1MDB scandal in 2016.One of the clips show Najib reaching out to Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to secure a meeting to discuss how to resolve the “impasse” relating to 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. in a July 26, 2016, conversation. That followed the U.S. Department of Justice filing lawsuits to seize assets linked to 1MDB and saying $3.5 billion had been misappropriated from the Malaysian state fund.The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has verified the recordings and can vouch for their authenticity, Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya told reporters in the administrative capital of Putrajaya. The agency will hand the clips to the police as they show elements of abuse of power, obstruction of justice and fabrication of evidence, which fall under the penal code, she said.Najib is undergoing trial to face dozens of charges linked to his role in the troubled state fund 1MDB, which is at the center of global investigations into corruption and money laundering.“I am shocked by the revelation and I am studying its content and I have referred the matter to my lawyer,” Najib said to reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur courtroom. He said he needed to review the matter when asked to confirm the veracity of the clips.The nine clips also show conversations between Najib and people including his wife Rosmah Mansor and former anti-corruption chief Dzulkifli Ahmad.Investigation PapersIn a recording dated Jan. 5, 2016, then-public prosecutor Dzulkifli said to Najib he was worried that the 1MDB investigation papers were known to about 20 people, and asked, “how can we cover this up?” Dzulkifli also said to Najib that he and former Attorney-General Apandi Ali can handle the matter on the legal side. Dzulkifli was appointed as chief commissioner at the anti-graft agency the following August.On Jan. 26 of that year, Apandi held a press conference clearing Najib of all wrongdoing.In Najib’s July 2016 discussion with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, he sought help signing a loan agreement for his stepson Riza Aziz’s movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Najib said such an agreement would “show it’s a legitimate financing package, it’s not money laundering.”‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Producer to Pay $60 Million SettlementThe former premier said he was worried Riza would be made a scapegoat.“I don’t want him to be a victim when he was totally unaware of the source of money,” Najib said in the conversation with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince.In another recording, Rosmah told Najib to withdraw an arbitration between 1MDB and IPIC. They discussed inviting representatives from the United Arab Emirates to settle the matter without arbitration.(Updates with comment from Najib in fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Hadi Azmi.To contact the reporter on this story: Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at ashukry2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Yudith Ho at yho35@bloomberg.net, Chan Tien HinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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