Saudi royals behind $680m transfer to Malaysian PM

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The Saudi royal family made the $680m transfer to the Malaysian prime minister’s bank account that sparked a political crisis, the Southeast Asian country’s attorney general has said.

At an unscheduled news conference, Mohamed Apandi Ali gave few details but said the money was a personal donation to Najib Razak, writes the FT’s Michael Peel. He said the prime minister had committed no offence in receiving it, nor in his conduct in other affairs probed by Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency.

“I am satisfied with the findings that the funds were not a form of graft or bribery,” the attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali said on Tuesday, of the $680m transferred to the prime minister’s personal bank account in 2013.

“There was no reason given as to why the donation was made to PM Najib, that is between him and the Saudi family.”

The Saudi royal family was not immediately available for comment.

The assertion raises fresh questions about both the donation and the quality of the investigation into it, which opponents of Mr Najib say is being stifled by the government. Mr Najib is battling a scandal over allegations of the misappropriation of billions of dollars linked to the 1MDB state investment fund. Both he and 1MDB deny the claims.

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