Sunday, 08 December, 2019

China denies offering to bail out 1MDB, Najib agrees

China denies offering to bail out 1MDB, Najib agrees China denies offering to bail out 1MDB, Najib agrees
Deanna Wagner | 09 January, 2019, 23:40

China also denied WSJ's allegation that some Chinese leaders had offered to bail out 1MDB in return for lucrative contracts in 2016. After Mahathir won the election, the current Prime Minister has been in talks with China for the return to Malaysia of Low Taek Jho, as well as new terms for a railroad project began under Najib's term.

A series of meetings organised by the Journal have revealed that Chinese officials told Malaysian counterparts that China would try to deter corruption probes by the U.S. and others into the so-called 1MDB fund, if Malaysia agreed to grant China deals as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

Malaysiakini cited a spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, who said China adheres to a policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.

The Chinese Embassy in Malaysia yesterday said both China and Malaysia had all along treated each other as "friendly neighbours and honest partners".

1MDB, founded by former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, is the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations in at least six countries.

In exchange, the report said that Malaysia allegedly promised stakes in railway and pipeline projects as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a major infrastructure drive seeking to link Asia, Europe and Africa.

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This included surveilling WSJ reporters in Hong Kong who had been investigating 1MDB, the Journal reports, including by "full scale residence/office/device tapping, computer/phone/web data retrieval, and full operational surveillance." .

After Pakatan Harapan formed the federal government, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad swiftly put the Chinese projects on hold.

1MDB is at the center of a global scandal involving claims of embezzlement and money laundering, with jurisdictions from the U.S., Malaysia and Singapore probing cases related to the fund. Najib has been charged with dozens of counts of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving 1MDB-related monies. "If it was said in black and white, then it is something we will pursue".

The Malaysian government will scrutinise bilateral deals made with China under the previous government, finance minister Lim Guan Eng said on Tuesday (Jan 8). It could not be determined whether China provided any such information, the newspaper added.

"With the likelihood that the respondent will abscond, I'm of the considered view that the respondent's presence (in court) can not be secured by the setting of bail or the setting of any condition to the granting of bail", he said.

Najib oversaw the setting up of 1MDB in 2009, and the United States Justice Department estimated US$4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014.