Malaysia’s minister of communications, Salleh Said Keruak, has harshly criticised Swiss attorney-general, Michael Lauber, in connection with criminal investigations into corruption in Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB.
In Tuesday's edition of the British newspaper The Guardianexternal link, he accused Lauber's office of 'misinformation' and breaking international rules.
“It’s very unusual, and against normal protocol, for a senior official of one country to speak publicly on the internal matters of another country," Salleh said. "Yet that is what the Swiss attorney-general has done.”
In addition, he claimed that the attorney-general had informed the media of the investigation before informing the Malaysian authorities.
On Friday the office of the Swiss attorney-general said that about $4 billion (CHF4.1 billion) appears to have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies. Salleh denied this figure in on Tuesday.
1MDB had undergone extensive audits since 2009, he told the Guardian, and the $4billion figure “simply could not have been misappropriated under such conditions”
The Swiss authorities said on Tuesday they had taken note of the criticism, but they would not comment political statements.
The announcement that Switzerland had formally asked for Malaysia’s assistance in investigating alleged criminal misconduct and possible violations of Swiss laws of the investigation was made on Friday. Criminal proceedings relating to Malaysia’s troubled state investment fund were opened in August 2015.
The case involves suspicion of bribery of foreign public officials, misconduct in public office, money laundering and criminal mismanagement at the fund.
Singapore is also cooperating with the authorities in Malaysia, Switzerland and the United States who are investigating 1MDB, according to a joint statement released on Monday by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department, the city-state's white-collar crime agency.
"In connection with these investigations, we have sought and are continuing to seek information from several financial institutions, are interviewing various individuals, and have seized a large number of bank accounts," the agencies announced.
swissinfo.ch and agencies