Swiss investigate two PetroSaudi officials in 1MDB Inquiry
ZURICH - Reuters
1MDB is at the center of money-laundering probes in at least six countries, including Switzerland, the United States and Singapore. A total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, according to civil lawsuits filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
The Swiss Attorney General’s office said it had launched criminal investigations against two PetroSaudi officials in November 2017 “on suspicions of criminal mismanagement, fraud, bribery of foreign public officials, aggravated money laundering and misconduct in public office.”
“One of the two suspects is also suspected of document forgery,” it added without identifying either suspect. It said it had kept the inquiries under wraps to avoid jeopardising the investigation.
PetroSaudi, which ran an energy joint venture with 1MDB from 2009 to 2012, was not immediately available for comment.
The Financial Times, which first reported on the inquiries, cited the company as saying it was “aware of an ongoing investigation by the Swiss authorities related to 1MDB” but was not the subject of the probe.
The company told the Financial Times it rejected assertions that it or any of its officials were involved in the misappropriation of funds from 1MDB and would co-operate fully with authorities.
The new announcement threw the spotlight back on the case in the build up to Malaysian elections on May 9.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who set up 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in 2009 and served as chairman of its advisory board, is seeking re-election. He and the fund have denied any wrongdoing.