Malaysia has agreed for Swiss investigators to interview witnesses in their investigation of alleged corruption and money laundering related to the Malaysian state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland said on Tuesday.
The press statement said Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber met on Tuesday with his Malaysian counterpart, Tan Sri Dato Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, to discuss "mutual cooperation" in the 1MDB case.
The Swiss regarded Malaysian cooperation as crucial to their ongoing inquiry, it added. However, they did not identify witnesses whose testimony they formally requested Malaysian authorities to arrange.
Switzerland has already frozen assets "amounting to several tens of millions of U.S.-dollars" in Swiss bank accounts in connection with its probe.
On August 14, the Attorney General’s office opened criminal proceedings against two 1MDB officials and other unknown persons for corruption and suspected money laundering. Investigations are based on two notifications of suspicious transactions flagged by Switzerland's anti-money laundering agency.
Both Swiss and Malaysian authorities are conducting inquiries concerning the fund, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak. The fund has been dogged by controversy over its $11 billion (CHF10.7 billion) debt and alleged financial mismanagement.
The prime minister has rebuffed calls for him to quit over the 1MDB scandal and for his handling of the economy as the ringgit currency slumped to its weakest levels since the Asian financial crisis nearly 18 years ago.
swisssinfo.ch with agencies