2 September 2015
In a statement tonight, 1MDB said as far as it is aware, none of the company’s bank accounts have been frozen.
Swiss freeze millions amid 1MDB fund probe
Swiss authorities said today they had frozen funds in Swiss banks amid a probe into people linked to Malaysia’s troubled state investment fund, 1MDB, on suspicion of corruption and money-laundering, according to Reuters.
“The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has frozen assets amounting to several tens of millions of US dollars on Swiss bank accounts,” an OAG spokesperson said by email in response to an enquiry.
“At this early stage of the procedure, the OAG is analysing and consolidating evidence. The OAG is already in contact with the Malaysian authorities. International cooperation with foreign countries, in particular with Malaysia, will probably be necessary to establish the facts,” she added.
The Wall Street Journal
Swiss Look Into Connection Between Banking Sector and 1MDB
Updated Aug. 23, 2015 10:31 p.m. ET
ZURICH—Swiss authorities have opened a criminal probe into the relationship between “suspicious transactions” in the country’s banking sector and a troubled state investment fund tied to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Free Malaysia Today
Swiss and Saudis dragged into 1MDB scandal
The Swiss are investigating alleged financial improprieties and the Saudis are ‘not amused’ by unwanted headlines.
KUALA LUMPUR: Two foreign nations, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia, have been dragged into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, reports the Gulf Times, igniting on a global stage a scandal that the Malaysian government had hoped to calm down locally.
Switzerland’s financial regulator FINMA last Wednesday announced that it was investigating the extent of any involvement which its banks may have had in any of the alleged ‘dubious’ transactions linked to 1MDB.
Swiss media reports suggest that at least six banks were under scrutiny, the Times claims.
The Times named four of them as Falcon Private Bank (owned by Aabar Investment, a company heavily linked to 1MDB), BSI (based in Lugano, and with a branch in Singapore), JP Morgan (bankers for 1MDB’s former joint-venture partner, PetroSaudi), and Coutts & Co (which has become entangled in Umno’s RM2.6 billion foreign ‘donation’ claim).
Several accounts have also reportedly been frozen in the wake of the investigations.
On Friday, the Swiss Attorney General’s Office confirmed that it has opened criminal proceedings against two 1MDB entities as well as “an unknown person”, after a complaint filed by the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund. Swiss law prohibits its banks and businesses from involving themselves in money-laundering or corruption anywhere in the world.
Swiss national Xavier Justo is also at the centre of the scandal, having confessed to blackmailing his former employers PetroSaudi using data which he stole from them. Convicted by a Thai criminal court last week, Justo is presently serving a three-year jail sentence.
Saudi Arabia is also said to be ‘uneasy’ about having been dragged into the scandal.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has claimed that a large chunk of the money he received in his personal bank account came from a Saudi “donor” purportedly for “championing Islam” and fighting ISIS militants.
August 23, 2015 2:07 pm
The Swiss attorney-general said it was investigating “two entities of 1MDB” and an “unknown person”. Two deposits into Mr Najib’s account, amounting to $681m, allegedly came via a Swiss bank from a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, according to documents prepared by Malaysian prosecutors and cited in the Wall Street Journal.
Finma, the Swiss financial regulator, said it was aware of the corruption allegations and was in contact with several Swiss banks about the issue.
Other critics of Mr Najib in Malaysia said they hoped the Swiss investigation would prompt US regulators to look into the issue.
Last month Singapore froze two bank accounts in connection with investigations into 1MDB, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore said it would share information with Malaysian investigators.