Monday, 25 March, 2019

China denies report of bailout offer for 1MDB

Najib Razak was promoting the East Coast Rail Link project among several big contracts awarded to Chinese firms Najib Razak was promoting the East Coast Rail Link project among several big contracts awarded to Chinese firms
Jeannette Daniel | 09 January, 2019, 18:39

The Chinese also offered to bug the homes and offices of Wall Street Journal reporters in Hong Kong who were investigating 1MDB to find out who was passing information to them, the paper said.

Najib signed $34 billion of rail and pipeline deals with Chinese state companies, the Journal reported.

Malaysiakini cited a spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, who said China adheres to a policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.

The WSJ report alleged that the Najib administration had worked with Beijing on Belt and Road Initiative projects such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), in order to divert funds to 1MDB.

"China never attaches political conditions on our cooperation with other countries. We do not accept any groundless accusations made against China", the embassy added.

1MDB, founded by former prime minister Najib Razak, is the subject of corruption and money laundering investigations in at least six countries.

Mahathir's finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would study the allegations made in the Journal report.

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Current Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad replaced Najib in an election last May and put the Chinese projects on hold.

The documents reportedly show that "Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try to get the USA and other countries to drop their probes of allegations that allies of then-Prime Minister Najib Razak and others plundered the fund known as 1MDB".

The US Department of Justice has estimated that a total of US$4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates.

Stolen 1MDB money was allegedly laundered via a complex web of transactions around the world, and countries including Singapore, the USA and Switzerland have launched probes. He denies any wrongdoing. New terms are reportedly being negotiated.There are many other juicy details in the piece, including that Xiào Yàqìng 肖亚庆, chairman of China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, had said at a meeting on June 28, 2016 that Xi Jinping had personally approved the infrastructure initiatives.

"If there is anything that explicitly states this in black and white, we will pursue the case", he was cited as saying.

In a statement issued on his Facebook page late on Tuesday, Najib said China had never offered to bail out 1MDB and he defended the cost of infrastructure projects awarded to China.

While the projects that China proposed in Malaysia were "political in nature", according to the WSJ, "it was imperative the public see them as market-driven".

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