Najib's AmBank accounts 'shut before' freeze order

KUALA LUMPUR - The task force investigating debt-ridden state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) said yesterday that Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal accounts in AmBank Islamic - which are alleged to have received massive funds from 1MDB - were already closed and no longer existed.

The closure dates were Aug 30, 2013 and March 9 this year, said a statement from the task force led by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, reported news website Malaysiakini.

The task force was elaborating on the freeze order it issued on Monday to suspend six accounts linked to 1MDB.

As the media had speculated that three of the frozen accounts belonged to Mr Najib, the latest revelation helped put paid to such talk.

But it also showed that the Prime Minister did once hold two bank accounts at AmBank, corroborating a report last week by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), news website Malaysian Insider pointed out.

In that report, WSJ claimed that US$681 million (S$920 million) was moved from Tanore Finance, a company in the British Virgin Islands, into Mr Najib's personal accounts in two transactions on March 21 and 25 of 2013.

Another sum of US$11.1 million was moved in two tranches from Finance Ministry-owned SRC International into his accounts between December last year and February.

The closures came soon after the alleged fund transfers, said Malaysian Insider.

Meanwhile, an interim report on 1MDB by a bipartisan Public Accounts Committee told Parliament that nothing suspicious had been found about the investment fund.

But the report also criticised 1MDB for failing to fully co-operate in investigations, Reuters reported.

Mr Najib has denied taking about US$700 million from 1MDB for his personal gain, while the state investor has dismissed the allegations as "unsubstantiated".


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