The Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber has held talks with his Malaysian counterpart to set out how the two countries can enhance cooperation during the global criminal investigation of the Malay 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
Two Swiss banks have already been implicated in an alleged fraud of huge proportions that is said to have funneled billions of dollars from both the 1MDB and SRC wealth funds into the pockets of corrupt officials. That money had been earmarked for economic development projects in Malaysia.
The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has placed six people under formal criminal investigation in relation to the scandal on a wide array of offences, including fraud, money laundering, forgery, bribery of public officials and abuse of public office.
The OAG is now seizing on a Malaysian regime change of two months’ ago that has seen the former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrested and charged with corruption.
Repeated Swiss requests for legal assistance from Malaysia had been rebuffed in the past. But new Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas appears more open to cooperation.
“After the latest developments in Malaysia, the OAG was very much interested in renewing dialogue with the competent authorities in Malaysia in order to establish the most efficient form of cooperation and to ensure good coordination of the criminal investigations between partnering authorities,” the OAG said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that it is not directly investigating Razak.
Switzerland is also cooperating with prosecutors in the United States, Luxembourg and Singapore in relation to the 1MDB case.
In its statement on Tuesday, the OAG said it would not publicly provide details of how many assets have already been seized by the Swiss authorities.