1MDB probe finds $20 million in luxury spending by Malaysia PM Najib Razak: WSJ

1MDB probe finds $20 million in luxury spending by Malaysia PM Najib Razak: WSJ

Malaysia's embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak spent as much as US$15 million (S$20.3 million) on luxury items, according to bank-transfer information from a Malaysian investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The money - linked to Najib's private bank accounts that global investors believe received millions of dollars diverted from a troubled state-investment fund - was spent on clothes, jewelry and a car, according to the bank-transfer information, involving stores in the US, Malaysia, Italy and elsewhere, the WSJ reported.

It also said that more than US$130,000 was spent at a Chanel store in Honolulu two days before Najib played golf with Obama in December 2013.

In July of last year, the WSJ reported allegations that nearly US$700 million had flowed from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, to Najib's personal bank account in 2013.

Najib has repeatedly denied wrong-doing and, under pressure from the WSJ report, said at the time the funds were a private donation from a Middle Eastern country he declined to name. He has denied benefiting personally from any of the funds.

In January, Malaysia's Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali told an unscheduled press conference that Saudi Arabia's royal family gave Najib a US$681 million gift that was subsequently partially returned.

Apandi said at the same press conference that no criminal offence had been committed.

The WSJ report Thursday said that the latest Malaysian investigation documents contradict the attorney general's statement, showing that transfers made from a person and the finance ministry in Saudi Arabia were made much earlier, in 2011 and 2012, but they were only for a total of around $200 million.

Najib and a lawyer for Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, declined to comment, the WSJ report said.

Najib's office and 1MDB didn't immediately return an emailed requests for comment from CNBC. In the past,1MDB has said that it has not paid any funds to the prime minister's personal accounts, calling the WSJ's allegations "disproven."

The report from The Wall Street Journal can be seen here.

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