(Bloomberg) -- Swiss prosecutors widened their criminal probe into allegations of bribery and corruption at 1Malaysia Development Bhd., and have asked Luxembourg and Singapore authorities for help with an investigation into the government fund.
The Swiss Attorney General is investigating two former public officials from the United Arab Emirates on charges of fraud, criminal mismanagement, bribery and money laundering, according to a statement Tuesday from the Bern-based prosecutor’s office. The pair handled Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds that guaranteed bonds issued to finance 1MDB’s investment in power plants, Swiss authorities said.
The allegations include that “the amounts paid in connection with this guarantee were not returned to the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund that supported the commercial risk,” the statement reads. “To the contrary, these funds would have benefited others, particularly two public officials concerned as well as a company related to the motion picture industry.”
1MDB is at the heart of a growing number of investigations both at home as well as in Switzerland, the U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong and Luxembourg over allegations the development fund was used to funnel money to individuals including Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who heads the fund’s advisory board. The Swiss estimate that about $4 billion may have been misappropriated while a Malaysian parliamentary committee identified at least $4.2 billion of irregular transactions, according to a report published last week.
That report pinned the blame for financial lapses on 1MDB’s former CEO and said the fund’s advisory board be disbanded. Najib and 1MDB have repeatedly denied wrongdoing. A spokeswoman for Genting Bhd., which sold power assets to 1MDB, did not have any immediate comment, nor did a spokesman for the Abu Dhabi fund, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC) which fully owns Aabar Investments PJSC. The Swiss didn’t name the two former Emirati public officials, who it said, are presumed innocent.
The Swiss said they’ve also submitted a request for legal assistance with Singapore and Luxembourg authorities. Prosecutors in Luxembourg said March 31 they started an investigation of 1MDB after finding “concrete clues” of embezzlement from companies owned by the fund via accounts in Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
The Singapore Attorney General’s office confirmed it’s received the request and said it will “render all possible assistance expeditiously.”
--With assistance from Elffie Chew Stefania Bianchi and Andrea Tan To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Geneva at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com, Christopher Elser, Shamim Adam
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