Malaysia probes claim China offered to bail out 1MDB

Malaysia probes claim China offered to bail out 1MDB

China has dismissed a Wall Street Journal report today which claimed it offered the former Barisan Nasional government a deal to bail out 1MDB in return for contracts to further its "One Belt, One Road" agenda.

"The Chinese side is committed to working together with the Pakatan Harapan government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) towards creating a brighter future for China-Malaysia relations", it said.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on January 7 that in 2016 senior officials from China offered to bail out 1MDB by using China's influence to endeavor to stop an investigation from the United States and other countries on the multibillion-dollar money laundering and corruption scandal that rocked Malaysia.

In a statement in response to the Journal report, the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur said China never attached political conditions to its cooperation with other countries.

The Chinese Embassy in Malaysia yesterday said both China and Malaysia had all along treated each other as "friendly neighbours and honest partners".

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and the Chinese Embassy of Malaysia have both denied the claims.

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This included surveilling WSJ reporters in Hong Kong who had been investigating 1MDB, the Journal reports, including by "full scale residence/office/device tapping, computer/phone/web data retrieval, and full operational surveillance." . In return Malaysia offered China lucrative stakes in railway and pipeline projects for Beijing's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, the report said.

"China has all along adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of any other country".

A Malaysian court yesterday declined to grant bail to former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, pending his extradition to the U.S. where he faces charges related to suspected money laundering of funds siphoned off from state fund 1MDB. It could not be determined whether China provided any such information, the newspaper added.

The US State Department alleges that US$4.5 billion was looted from the fund by Najib and his cronies, and spent on everything from artwork to high-end real estate.

The report was written by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, WSJ reporters who wrote a book called Billion Dollar Whale about the scandal and in particular, Low Taek Jho, the high-flying Malaysian financier at the heart of the scandal.

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing. "If it was said in black and white, then it is something we will pursue", Lim was quoted as saying in Malaysian media. "I have to refer back to any details explicitly said".

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