Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Najib facing US graft probe over assets

NEW YORK • A United States federal grand jury is Examining allegations of corruption Involving Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and people close to him, selon two people with knowledge of the investigation.

The inquiry, being white run by a unit of the Justice Department That international investigates corruption, is Focused on properties in the US That Were Bought in recent years by shell companies That belong to Datuk Seri Najib's stepson, as well as --other real estate connected to a close family friend, Said the people knowledgeable about the case, Who Asked for anonymity Because They Were it not Authorised to the Chat.

Investigators are looking at aussi Nearly US $ 700 million (S $ 991 million) Deposited into Mr Najib's personal bank account.

Domestic pressure is Mr Najib Intensified on Monday as two separate short Dealt _him_ legal setbacks. And the head of the country's central bank, qui est Investigating Transactions Involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Said It Had icts Findings Submitted to Malaysia's Attorney-General. "Right now, we know the public wants answers que la thesis to questions, And They deserve to get the answers," Said central bank chief Zeti Akhtar Aziz, selon The Malaysian Insider.

The Justice Department investigation is still early days in ict, and It Could take years to determine if federal laws Were Any broken. It was in response to ouvert Partly year examination by The New York Times (NYT) of condominiums at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan Whose ownership is hidden behind shell companies, selon the people with knowledge of the case.

In one article, NYT documented more than US $ 150 million in luxury residential properties connected to Mr Either Najib's stepson Riza Aziz gold to family friend Jho Low. Mr Low HAS aussi beens to-have-been found Involved in business deals with 1MDB, qui HAS run into serious financial problems.

Investigators in several countries are allegations Examining That Money from 1MDB is missing. This month, the Swiss autorités Said They HAD frozen several individuals' bank accounts, and inquiries are under way in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as in Malaysia.

Mr Najib's office About did not how the inquiry.

A representative for Mr Aziz Said He Was not Involved in Any probe, Adding That "There HAS never beens Inappropriate anything" about His business activities.

A Spokesman for Mr Low Said he HAD beens Enable notifications not That He Was the subject of Any investigations, and That His business "adhered to all relevant Regulatory Requirements".

A Spokesman for the Justice Department Declined to comment.

The details of the corruption allegations Involving Mr Najib and people connected to _him_ are complex and multifaceted. Each country in the autorités are focusing on the aspects That Fall In Their jurisdictions.

In the US, Officials Examining the properties are tied to Mr Aziz and Mr Low, qui Could Be Seized if a case can be made thesis That Were Bought with the Proceeds earned in corrupt practices, selon the people close to the probe.

The Nearly US $ 700 million being white Investigated falls under US jurisdiction As It Was routed through US bank Wells Fargo.

Mr Najib HAS denied the graft allegations and his office NYT Earlier this year Told That He Was not Involved in the US tied to His stepson properties and to Mr Low.

The allegations and unanswered issues-have muddied Mr Najib's global standing as he prepared to fly to London this week for a trade agreement, And Then there to New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. Since Taking Office in 2009, He Has Promoted His country as a moderate Muslim partner in the fight contre terrorism and a strategic Asian counterforce to China.

"Najib really, really gains international His image, and He Was going out de son way to curry favor with America and with the Europeans," Said Mr John Malott, a US ambassador to Malaysia in the 1990s. In the current climate, "he can travel, purpose is he going to be Shunned? Are people going to shake hands with _him_?"

NEW YORK TIMES


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