Malaysia excludes anti-corruption body in new team to probe 1MDB

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's attorney-general has formed a new task force to investigate state fund 1MDB but it excludes the country's anti-corruption body, local newspaper Sin Chew Daily reported on Friday.

The task force comprises the central bank, attorney-general's chambers, police, customs department and the Inland Revenue Board, the newspaper said, citing Mohd Shukri Abdul, deputy chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Shukri told the newspaper in an interview that the MACC will continue its own investigation into 1MDB, and its absence from the new task force was "not a problem".

Representatives from the attorney-general's office and the MACC declined to comment. The central bank could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that investigators looking into allegations of graft and financial mismanagement in 1MDB found that nearly US$700 million was deposited into Prime Minister Najib Razak's private bank account. Reuters has not verified the report.

The MACC has since verified that it was a donation from the Middle East. It said on Aug. 3 that it would ask Najib to explain why the donation was deposited into his private account.

Najib, who chairs the advisory board for 1MDB, has maintained that he did not take any money for personal gain.

A former task force probing into 1MDB had included the MACC, but was disbanded after the attorney-general said it was no longer necessary, the MACC said previously.