Singapore police says it has been facilitative on 1MDB probe

All requests for assistance from the PDRM have been dealt with promptly, the republic’s police says

by AZREEN HANI / pic by AFP

THE Singapore police said it has always been quick and facilitative of the requests from Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) on the investigation into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) linked to Datuk Tawfiq Ayman.

“We would like to clarify that all requests for assistance from the PDRM have been dealt with promptly, and we have been facilitative,” the republic’s police said in a statement yesterday.

“For the investigations into Tawfiq, PDRM made the request to travel to Singapore to conduct further investigations on Dec 2, 2021. Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) responded on Dec 6, 2021, agreeing to the request, we proposed multiple dates for the visit and also proposed arrangements to comply with the Covid-19 border measures,” it added.

According to the Singapore police, there were multiple correspondences subsequently with the last correspondence on Jan 10, 2022, where CAD proposed for the visit to then be conducted between Feb 8 and 9, 2022, and PDRM responded on March 8, 2022, when they requested to enter Singapore in mid to late March.

It added that Singapore has facilitated Malaysia’s 1MDB-related investigations in other ways since 2015, including arranging for the repatriation of about S$88 million (RM273.9 million) of seized 1MDB-related monies to the Malaysian government.

“We will continue to facilitate requests for assistance in accordance with Singapore’s legal framework,” the statement added.

According to media reports, PDRM said they are waiting for clearance from Singapore to enter the island state and continue its 1MDB-related investigation into Tawfiq.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department deputy director Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din was quoted as saying that they were unable to give an estimate of when they would be able to enter Singapore, as it depends on the republic’s decision.

Several media previously reported that Tawfiq, the husband of former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, was being investigated under Section (4)(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLA) 2001.

Last November, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said the Singaporean government had also assisted in the return of assets worth US$15.4 million (RM64.53 million) to Malaysia involving the accounts of Cutting Edge Industries Ltd owned by Tawfiq and Samuel Goh.

“MACC is also in the process of recovering assets from countries such as Switzerland, Kuwait, Mauritius, Cyprus and Hong Kong involving individuals connected to the 1MDB case,” it said.

In February, Tawfiq had denied ever receiving bribes nor knowing and meeting former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Tim Leissner who is on trial in New York.

“I wish to categorically state that throughout my entire life, I have never received any bribes from anyone,” he said in a statement.

“I do not know Leissner or Roger Ng and neither have I met nor have ever communicated with either of them,” Tawfiq added.

BNM had also said that it had furnished information to the relevant law enforcement agency in April 2016 on the accounts belonging to the husband of a former governor.

“On this, BNM has furnished information to the relevant law enforcement agency in April 2016 in accordance with our responsibilities under AMLA 2001,” the central bank said in a statement.

The statement was made following Leissner’s testimony that BNM approved an “overnight” foreign exchange transfer of US$1 billion from 1MDB to PetroSaudi International Ltd.