KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 State fund 1Malaysia
Development Berhad has cleared over 3 billion ringgit ($678.96
million) in debt over the past two years, Prime Minister Najib
Razak said on Wednesday, amid ongoing money-laundering probes
linked to 1MDB in at least six countries.
The sovereign wealth fund, founded by Najib, is at the
centre of civil lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice
that allege more than $3.5 billion was misappropriated from
1MDB. The fund is also being investigated in Switzerland and
Najib's premiership was rocked by a series of reports by the
Wall Street Journal since mid-2015 tracing how over $1 billion
of 1MDB funds were transferred into his personal bank accounts.
Najib, who had chaired 1MDB's advisory board until it was
dissolved in May last year, has denied all allegations of
corruption, saying that he has never received any funds from a
state agency or fund for his own benefit.
The government has said that most of the funds transferred
to the prime minister's bank account had been gifted by a member
of the Saudi royal family, and had subsequently been returned.
Encouraged by the inability of the country's fractured
opposition to capitalise more strongly, Najib is expected to
call an early general election this year as he seeks to put the
scandal to rest.
In a written reply to parliament dated March 29, Najib said
1MDB has settled its borrowings in full with four lenders
between 2015 and 2016. These included credit and loan facilities
from Affin Bank, Marstan Investments N.V., EXIM Bank and the
"Currently, 1MDB does not have any bank loans or short term
debts," he said.
Najib said 1MDB raised 10.97 billion ringgit in cash over
the same period through the sale of Edra Global Energy Bhd, the
sale of an equity stake in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd and the sale
of a plot of land in the Tun Razak Exchange in the capital city
of Kuala Lumpur.
"As the 1MDB Rationalisation Plan is underway, no new assets
be it domestic or overseas were acquired between 2015 and 2016,"
the prime minister said.
($1 = 4.4185 ringgit)
(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)