A civil lawsuit has been filed against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and debt-ridden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), claiming they violated electoral rules and demanding new elections, reports said citing the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by the opposition People's Justice Party (PKR), is linked to allegations of $700 million found in Razak’s bank account, which was allegedly transferred there from 1MDB. The allegations have led to a crisis for Razak, who has claimed that the money came as donations from the Middle East. Malaysia's anti-graft agency announced last week that the money was received before the March 2013 elections and supported Razak’s claims. However, PKR alleges, the Associated Press (AP) reported Wednesday, that the money was 26 times more than the amount that Razak’s ruling coalition National Front was supposed to spend in the polls.
Nurul Izzah Anwar, PKR’s vice president, said, according to AP, that the lawsuit will disclose "all kinds of bribes and corrupt tactics" used by the National Front to gain power, in the 2013 elections. Anwar also cited evidence of allegedly corrupt transactions to call for fresh elections. The lawsuit reportedly also names the election commission and Adnan Mansor, the secretary-general of Razak's ruling Malay party.
"The fact is that the alleged amount spent by Najib far exceeds the allowable amount for elections," Anwar said, according to Reuters, adding: "This is a clear-cut breach of the election law."
1MDB, which was set up in 2009 by Razak, has so far denied transferring money into Razak’s account while an interim government report said that it did not find anything suspicious about the funds. Razak, who still chairs the advisory board of 1MDB, claims the allegations are being made to force him out of office.
Critics have also pointed to 1MDB's heavy debt burden of $10.4 billion and an alleged lack of transparency. Its energy ventures abroad faltered leading to the high debt and contributed to the fall in the value of the Malaysian currency to 4 ringgit to the dollar on Wednesday, taking it to the lowest since 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, AP reported.
The Wall Street Journal reported on July 2 that investigators in the country had traced the $700 million in deposits to Razak’s personal accounts, after it was moved between agencies, banks and companies related to 1MDB. Razak threatened to sue the publication, and called the allegations "vile" and "malicious."
Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of PKR who was jailed in February, had claimed that the money was linked to the 2013 election campaign. Ibrahim was a finance minister and a deputy prime minister before he was jailed for five years on a sodomy charge, which he has denounced as a conspiracy to obstruct investigations into the donations.