The office of Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber said it had
formally asked Malaysia to help with its probes into possible
violations of Swiss laws related to bribery of foreign officials,
misconduct in public office, money laundering and criminal
mismanagement at the fund.
It said it had identified four cases of alleged criminal conduct.
1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister
Najib Razak, has been probed by Malaysian authorities following
accusations of financial mismanagement and graft.
Earlier this week, Malaysia's attorney general cleared Najib himself
of any criminal offences or corruption, declaring that $681 million
deposited into his personal bank account was a gift from Saudi
Arabia's Royal family.
The Malaysian attorney general's office said in a statement on
Saturday it would take all possible steps to follow up and
collaborate with its Swiss counterpart, but noted that the
investigations into donations made to Najib were entirely separate
from those into 1MDB.
Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing, saying the funds were
a political donation and he did not take any money for personal
In its statement seeking Malaysia's assistance, the Swiss attorney
general's office said: "The monies believed to have been
misappropriated would have been earmarked for investment in economic
and social development projects in Malaysia."
It added that each case involved "a systematic course of action
carried out by means of complex financial structures".
1MDB said it has not been contacted by foreign legal authorities on
any matters relating to the company.
The Swiss authorities began investigations last August into 1MDB for
suspected corruption of public foreign officials, dishonest
management of public interests and money laundering.
Lauber's office said a small portion of the apparently
misappropriated money had been transferred to accounts held in
Switzerland by former Malaysian public officials and current and
former public officials from the United Arab Emirates.
The four cases of suspected criminal conduct related to former 1MDB
subsidiary SRC International, Petrosaudi, Genting/Tanjong and ADMIC
between 2009 and 2013, it said.
When presenting his findings last week, Malaysia's top lawyer had
asked the country's anti-graft agency to close all probes into SRC
and the money deposited in Najib's account.
[to top of second column]
Officials from Malaysia's anti-graft agency were not immediately
available for comment on the statement by the Swiss authorities.
Genting and Tanjong did not answer calls seeking comment. Petrosaudi
and ADMIC could not immediately be reached.
The Swiss statement said Lauber had discussed the 1MDB case with his
Malaysian counterpart at a meeting in Zurich in September.
Sources familiar with the September discussion between the two law
enforcement officials said the Malaysian official strongly urged
Lauber to abandon his 1MDB-related investigation.
1MDB is also under investigation by law enforcement agencies in Hong
Kong and the United States, media and other sources have said.
Tony Pua, a member of the Malaysian parliament with the opposition
Democratic Action Party, called on the Malaysian attorney general to
cooperate fully with foreign investigating agencies.
"Such cooperation will not only go a long way towards identifying
the culprits ... but also removing the perception that the Malaysian
AG was biased in favor of the Prime Minister," Pua said.
Malaysia's anti-corruption commission has said it will seek a review
of a decision by the attorney-general to clear Najib.
The Swiss statement said the request for mutual assistance is to
advise the companies involved and the Malaysian government of the
results of the Swiss criminal proceedings, "with the aim of finding
out whether losses on this scale have been sustained".
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball, A. Ananthalakshmi, Emily Chow, Rozanna
Latiff; Editing by John Chalmers and Will Waterman)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.