Probe: Nothing Shady About PM's Mystery $681M Gift

All aboveboard, according to Malaysia's attorney general
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2016 12:30 AM CST
Probe: Nothing Shady About PM's Mystery $681m Gift
Najib Razak speaks as he unveils the 2016 budget at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

Malaysia's attorney general said Tuesday that $681 million channeled into Prime Minister Najib Razak's private accounts was a personal donation from Saudi Arabia's royal family and cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing, the AP reports. The announcement capped months of uncertainty for Najib, who has come under intense pressure to resign over the financial scandal in his biggest political crisis since he took power in 2009. But the announcement by Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali did not clear up the mystery over the money, as he did not say why the Saudi royals made the donation to Najib or give details on what the money was to have been used for.

Apandi—whose predecessor was fired while investigating the prime minister—said investigations by the country's anti-corruption agency showed that no criminal offense was committed, as the $681 million transferred into Najib's accounts between March 2013 and April 2013 was "given without any consideration" by the Saudi royal family as a personal donation. He said Najib returned $620 million to the Saudis in August 2013; he didn't say what happened to the remaining $61 million. There was no immediate comment from Najib. In August, massive street rallies called for Najib's resignation after leaked documents suggested that the $681 million was deposited into his private bank accounts from entities linked to indebted state investment fund 1MDB. (Read more Malaysia stories.)

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