Over $1 billion was transferred to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal accounts, more than the amount previously identified by probes into state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The deposits were made from 2011 to 2013, and exceed the $681 million identified earlier, the report said, citing two sources familiar with the flow of Najib’s accounts.
According to the report, global investigators believe that much of the $1 billion originated with the state fund, but did not specify where the extra money came from or what happened to it. Najib’s office declined to comment on the allegations that the money deposited in his accounts exceeded $1 billion, according to the Journal.
Investigators in two other countries reportedly believe that the funds originated from 1MDB and moved through a complex web of transactions with the help of two former officials of Abu Dhabi, a Persian Gulf emirate with which 1MDB has close ties. Najib set up 1MDB in 2009 to spur economic growth in Malaysia.
The Journal report contradicts a conclusion reached recently by Malaysia’s attorney general.
Last month, Malaysian Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared Najib of any wrongdoing into the transfer of $681 million found in his personal account. Apandi said that the money was a legal donation from a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, and most was returned.
Allegations against Najib were first made in a report by the Journal last year, which said that investigators had traced the money from an account at Falcon Private Bank in Singapore to accounts in Malaysia.
According to the Journal, the 1MDB fund declined to comment on the recent accusations. However, it said in a separate statement on Feb.19 that it “has not paid any funds to the personal accounts of the Prime Minister.”
The 1MDB scandal also led Singapore to seize several bank accounts in the past couple of months, as part of its investigation into possible money laundering. Investigations into the fund's finances have also been opened in Malaysia, the United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, the Journal said.