1MDB used as a Ponzi scheme: Swiss prosecutor

Lester Mason
July 11, 2018

Mr Lauber's office said he and Mr Thomas "discussed the coordination of the investigation into the 1MDB case" and that its probe was focusing on the use of financing obtained by 1MDB and a former unit called SRC International Sdn. "The development of Malaysia, which was the goal of 1MDB, was just a pretext".

Switzerland has been investigating how billions of dollars earmarked for economic development through 1MDB was diverted and made its way into Swiss banks.

"When you take the complexity of this high-profile case - we only started in 2015 - and [after taking into account] very hard, very specific problems faced by the jurisdiction, I would say it is not a very long investigation".

He did not name the officials he was referring to. He had also met Thomas on Monday, he said, mainly to establish formal cooperation with his Malaysian counterpart.

Swiss investigators now say they have a lead on just how much money was stolen from Malaysian taxpayers.

Lauber said he was confident that the coordination could be set up, but "it was not yet there".

Swiss authorities have coordinated action with Singapore counterparts and closed down two banks - BSI and Falcon - and are now investigating six people for possible criminal indictment, said Lauber.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun confirmed today that officers from the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) have been issued affidavits from lawyers representing former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who accused the force of violating SOPs in the raids at Pavilion Residences.

"The Swiss have no interest in them, there is so far nothing to link the ex-prime minister to (the) investigation in Switzerland", he said.

Najib was engulfed in controversy following revelations that about US$700 million was deposited into his personal bank accounts ahead of the 2013 general elections.

The former prime minister was arrested and charged last week with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power, charges that he claimed were trumped up by the current Malaysian administration out of political vengeance.

Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali says he could not agree to the request from his Swiss counterpart as investigations were ongoing at the time.

Lauber clarified that the Swiss government indeed intends to return 1MDB assets to Malaysia, including "most of" the 400 million Swiss francs now frozen if it indeed belongs to the troubled state fund.

"It's a complex and huge global case", he said.

"It is of crucial importance that this high-profile case, it is very clear that we understand what does it mean and [the] different systems might have impact on [achieving] a concrete legal proceeding", he said.

"Please don't expect from Switzerland that because I am here, the money will come back tomorrow".

"These are the types of discussions we're having at the moment", he said.

The report said Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had requested for mutual legal assistance from Malaysia on two occasions, but received no response in return.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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