31 October 2018
When news broke that US$681 million dollars had been transferred to the personal bank account of Malaysia’s then Prime Minister Najib Razak, investigators had already pieced together a trail linking the funds to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a sovereign fund now synonymous with one of the biggest heists in financial history.
Najib, however, had another explanation for where the millions came from: Saudi Arabia. For years, the now ex-premier denied any role in the massive embezzlement at 1MDB, claiming the funds found in his account were a “donation” from a Saudi prince offered in recognition for governing Malaysia according to “Islamic principles.”
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir vouched for Najib in 2016 when asked about the so-called donation, saying it was “genuine” and “given with nothing expected in return.” He pointed out that the then Attorney General of Malaysia had “found no wrongdoing” during investigations and that he considered the matter closed.
… “There has been, in other words, a reset in relations,” says James Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “Look at the pattern of what Mahathir is doing. He’s positioning Malaysia much more independently, whether its versus Saudi Arabia or versus China.”
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 01/11/2018