Evidence Najib received 1MDB funds ignored, probe panelists say

Evidence Najib received 1MDB funds ignored, probe panelists say

A promise to scrap the goods-and-services tax helped Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad win an election that led to Malaysia's first change in government since independence.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing and was cleared by Malaysia's attorney general at the time, while the fund has consistently denied any misconduct.

On Tuesday, 92-year-old Mahathir wrote off the prospect of immediately handing over power to Anwar, as hoped by some among Anwar's large urban support base.

In an interview with Reuters, panel member Lim Chee Wee said then Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali had been presented with evidence by MACC in 2015 that Mr Najib had received RM42 million from 1MDB unit SRC International.

A newly-declassified report on scandal-plagued Malaysia state fund 1MDB shows investigators expressed widespread concern about anomalies in its accounts, as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accelerates efforts to reopen probes into the company and the actions of his predecessor.

"If there is no case, we don't go for detention without trial", he said.

The ousted prime minister has denied any wrongdoing. Other state-linked companies will also be required to channel their earnings to the fund, as long-term savings to the country.

Following his removal from power, Najib announced his resignation as president of the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) party and the once-ruling Barisan Nasional alliance.

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Mahathir also ordered the Malaysian Police to raid the house of former Prime Minister Najib Razak and millions of dollars and diamonds were seized. The fund was set up by Najib in 2009 to promote economic development but accumulated billions in debts.

Mahathir vowed on Monday to investigate any faults that may have been committed by Najib's government and said all ministries had been instructed not to destroy any documents.

"We are investigating as soon as possible money laundering and we have to contact America, Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg", he said.

Mahathir also said he welcomed foreign direct investment in Malaysia by China and other countries, but such investment must bring in capital and technology and provide jobs for Malaysians. Both police officers said investigators were not primarily interested in the luxury items but were chasing documents that could be vital for investigations into Najib's administration.Kuala Lumpur's police chief and an official police spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.Najib said earlier on Saturday that he was going overseas for a week to rest, but just minutes later the Department of Immigration announced that he and his wife had been barred from leaving the country.

In comments to a business conference on Tuesday, Mahathir confirmed the jailed leader will be released on Wednesday but said "I don't know what time". "We can not allow them to leave the country in the interest of facilitating investigations".

Mahathir, in a short statement on Sunday, said he would redefine a controversial anti-fake news law introduced by Najib.

He said that it would be given a clear definition but that there was a "limit" to press freedom, despite having pledged during the election campaign to abolish it.

He had been arrested and charged with sedition for allegedly insulting Najib through his caricatures related to the 1MDB scandal.

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