23 May 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Police on Thursday raided the offices of auditor Deloitte as they ramped up investigations into a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal, an official said.
Huge sums were stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB, allegedly by former prime minister Najib Razak and his cronies, who are said to have spent it on everything from yachts to rare artwork. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.
Deloitte has come under scrutiny after it audited 1MDB’s 2013 and 2014 financial statements.
Mazlan Mansor, the police head of commercial crime, confirmed to AFP that a raid had taken place on Deloitte’s office “in the course of 1MDB investigations”.
Police seized documents and files during the operation, The Star newspaper had reported.
Malaysia’s securities regulator had already fined the firm RM2.2 million in January for breaches related to a 1MDB bond issuance.
Deloitte was the third major accounting company to audit 1MDB’s books, after KPMG and Ernst & Young.
Deloitte quit as 1MDB’s auditor in 2016.
The same year, the firm said its audits of 1MDB’s financial statements could no longer be relied upon after the US filed lawsuits linked to the scandal.
US authorities are seeking to claw back assets allegedly bought in America with funds stolen from 1MDB and believe US$4.5 billion was looted from the fund.
KUALA LUMPUR: A police team from Bukit Aman’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department raided the office of accounting firm Deloitte here at Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
The team, comprising over a dozen plain clothes and uniformed police personnel, arrived at the office tower here at around 10.45am on Thursday (May 23) in three unmarked police cars before making their way to the offices on the 16th floor.
Several police personnel could be seen walking in and out of the lobby of the building to where their vehicles were parked.
Deloitte is believed to be the first firm to be raided by Federal police in its investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
It is among the “Big Four” international accounting companies that include Ernst and Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Deloitte was appointed the auditor for 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd between Mac 31, 2015 and 2016.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Mazlan Mansor, when contacted confirmed the raid.
“I can confirm that we have raided the firm and seized documents to help with our probe into the 1MDB case.
“A team from the Bukit Aman CCID conducted the raid, in line with their ongoing investigations into the case,” he said, adding that no arrests were made during the raid.
The police team was seen exiting the building and heading for the loading bay at the lower ground floor at around 5.30pm.
They were sighted loading two cardboard boxes into an unmarked police car and a police van there before the van went down to the basement level.
An additional nine boxes were loaded into the van there.
They left the building at around 5.55pm.
Deloitte Malaysia responded to queries from The Star, saying that police arrived at the offices seeking assistance in the provision of records relating to 1MDB.
“Deloitte Malaysia is not the subject of the investigation, and is cooperating fully with the authorities in their investigation,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
The raid comes just a day after police announced they had new leads on the whereabouts of Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.
Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador had said they would do their best to bring the fugitive Malaysian businessman, linked to scandal-plagued 1MDB, home as soon as possible.
He said Jho Low’s actions had plunged the country into debt, adding that the businessman should be held responsible for the mess.
Abdul Hamid said bringing Jho Low home to face the charges would expose the scam and lies behind it.