Malaysia issues arrest warrants for ex-1MDB executives

By BLOOMBERG 

Malaysian investigators are said to have issued arrest warrants for two former executives of troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is seeking 1MDB’s ex-general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and former ED Casey Tang Keng Chee, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.

The country’s renewed investigation into missing funds at 1MDB recently resulted in former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak being charged with several counts of criminal breach of trust and corruption, as police said they seized more than RM1.1 billion of cash and items linked to the case. Najib has pleaded not guilty.

The local investigation is nearly complete, MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said on July 7, adding that the inquiry now hinges on the MACC gathering evidence from overseas.

Loo and Tang haven’t been charged with any wrongdoing, and it isn’t clear what suspi- cions underpin the warrants. Attempts to reach their representatives weren’t successful. A representative for the MACC declined to comment.

Malaysia is as focused on rooting out corruption as it is on recouping funds potentially lost through 1MDB, with PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad setting the goal at US$4.5 bil- lion (RM18.32 billion).

The government has hired Singapore-based Tan Rajah & Cheah to help it recover 1MDB funds, said Imran Khwaja, a partner at the law firm.

Singapore’s Attorney General’s Chambers confirmed that it has been in contact with the firm on seized assets linked to 1MDB, and that the funds will be treated according to the law, according to a representative at the chambers.

Former 1MDB executives Loo and Tang were summoned by the commission in June to help with the case on the fund’s former unit SRC International Sdn Bhd, along with two other ex-1MDB officials Geh Choh Heng and Eric Tan Kim Loong.

Singapore has sought assistance from Interpol to locate Tan since 2016, along with financier Low Taek Jho who has been painted by US investigators as a central figure in the multibillion- dollar scandal.

Loo, a Malaysian who studied law in the UK, was said to have been dubbed “1MDB Officer 3” by the US government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The US also said the officer was 1MDB’s liaison to Goldman Sachs Group Inc, the bank that helped the state fund raise US$6.5 billion, and that she received a US$5 million transfer among dozens of payments in a scheme that ultimately drained billions of dollars from the fund.

Tang was involved with 1MDB from when it was still known as the Terengganu Investment Authority until 2011. It isn’t clear when Loo left the fund.

Bank Negara Malaysia summoned both of them for questioning in 2015, but they never appeared.

By March 2017, Najib said they were no longer on the central bank’s radar as the previous domestic investigation had been concluded. — Bloomberg