Malaysia’s anti-graft agency inquiries Najib over multi-million dlr deposits

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian anti-corruption officials questioned Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday in an investigation into deposits of funds totaling two.6 billion ringgit ($ 615.53 million) into his bank accounts that have prompted calls for his resignation.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) stated in a statement that Najib cooperated with its officers throughout the meeting, which lasted two-and-a-half-hours.

A graft scandal erupted about Najib in July when the Wall Street Journal reported that investigators focused on state fund 1Malaysia Improvement Berhad (1MDB) [TERRN.UL] had found that funds had been transferred into Najib’s bank accounts.

Critics have accused the government of dragging its feet on the investigation and have called for Najib to step down due to his failure to totally clarify where the money came from, why it was paid, or how it was used.

The MACC stated on Thursday that it would be recording Najib’s statement in connection with graft allegations at SRC International, a firm linked to 1MDB, and the funds in his account.

Najib, who chairs the 1MDB advisory board, has denied wrongdoing or taking any income for individual obtain. The MACC has stated earlier that the income was a political donation from an unidentified Middle Eastern benefactor.

The government has repeated that explanation in parliament, but most Malaysians, not just the prime minister’s critics, stay dissatisfied with that answer, and noted his failure to take legal action against the Wall Street Journal.

The fund is also getting investigated by law enforcement agencies in Switzerland, Hong Kong and the United States, media and sources have said.

The controversy has battered Malaysian markets with the ringgit MYR= losing about a quarter of its value to turn into Asia’s worst-performing currency this year.

The MACC statement mentioned it will hold the public informed of developments.

($ 1 = four.2240 ringgit)

(Reporting by Praveen Menon Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)