>> US investigators are ramping up their probe into Malaysia’s multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal. That’s according to three Reuters sources who said cooperation between Malaysian and US investigators has shot up since the country’s election last month. At least six countries are investigating accusations former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak and his associates, pocketed part of $4.5 billion allegedly stolen from State Investment Fund 1MDB.
Najib lost last month’s election in Malaysia to political arch rival and former leader Mahathir Mohamad. Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the 1MDB case. The FBI is now much more confident they can work with Malaysia. With sources saying the country’s new government is open to cooperating. US authorities had seen Najib’s government as actively obstructing efforts to probe the 1MDB case.
While the US has considered charging Najib, or his associates, they’d prefer Malaysia to be the one to lay charges against any of their own officials. Meanwhile Malaysia’s own investigation into the scandal is heating up. The country issued multiple arrest warrants on Friday, including for financier Low Taek Jho known as Jho Low.
But according to new PM Mahathir, an arrest is not so easy.>> We are trying to arrest Jho Low but he is not in the country.>> Sources also told Reuters, Malaysia’s considering asking the US Department of Justice to have investment bank Goldman Sachs return nearly $600 million it earned from a series of bond sales for 1MDB.
No formal requests has been made yet. But if the DOJ did push Goldman to release the profits, Malaysia may be able to claim their money back. Both the DOJ and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.