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Investigation finds $4 billion may have been misappropriated from Malaysia

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Jan. 30, 2016 at 6:42 PM
| License Photo

ZURICH, Switzerland, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A Swiss investigation into a Malaysian government investment fund revealed the possible misappropriation of nearly $4 billion.

The state-owned fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, has been the subject of multiple investigations, but as many of four cases of criminal conduct have been revealed, according to a statement by the Swiss Attorney General released Friday. The discoveries were made during criminal proceedings against two of the fund's executives for alleged bribery. The case was opened in August.

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"The monies believed to have been misappropriated would have been earmarked for investment in economic and social development projects in Malaysia," the statement said. "To date, however, the Malaysian companies concerned have made no comment on the losses they are believed to have incurred. The object of the request for mutual assistance is therefore to advise the companies and the Malaysian government of the results of the Swiss criminal proceedings, with the aim of finding out whether losses on this scale have been sustained."

The Swiss Attorney General has asked for the cooperation of Malaysian law enforcement to determine whether or not the transfers of small amounts of funds into the accounts of Malaysian public officials was misappropriation.

On Saturday, 1MDB released a statement saying they have not been contacted about the discovery.

"1MDB remains committed to fully cooperating with any lawful authority and investigation, subject to advice from the relevant domestic lawful authorities, and in accordance with international protocols governing such matters," the statement said.

CNN reported Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, founder and chair of 1MDB, was cleared of wrongdoing by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission last week, after allegations that he siphoned money from the fund. The allegations surfaced after The Wall Street Journal discovered that $681 billion was transferred from the fund into an accounts belonging to Razak.

A spokesman for Razak's office denied to comment to Bloomberg Business.

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