China Offering Bail Out For Malaysia's 1MDB Fund Can Backfire
China Offering Bail Out For Malaysia's 1MDB Fund Can Backfire
Malaysia to scrutinise China contracts after report of inflated deals struck to cover 1MDB debt
09 January, 2019, 23:37
In 2016, Chinese leaders offered to help bail out 1MDB, the controversial Malaysian state fund that was at the center of a billion-dollar scandal, according to a new report.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said as recently as November that he was continuing talks with China on another project: the 81 billion-ringgit ($19.7 billion) East Coast Rail Link, which remains in limbo after previously being halted and then cancelled.
Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try and get the US and other countries to drop probes of allegations that allies of then-Prime Minister Najib Razak and others plundered the fund, according to the newspaper.
"We do not accept any groundless accusations made against China", the embassy said.
Former government representatives Prime Minister Najib Razak (third left), Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai (third right), Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani (second right) and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan (first right) attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the ECRL in Kuantan on August 9, 2017. Beijing has offered to check on the houses of Wall Street Journal reporters in Hong Kong who were investigating the 1MDB case and find out their source of information.
"China never attaches political conditions on our cooperation with other countries".
Since coming to power in May, Mahathir's government has accused the Najib administration of inflating the cost of Chinese deals.
A MALAYSIAN court on Monday declined to grant bail to former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, pending his extradition to the United States, where he faces charges related to suspected money laundering of funds siphoned off from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Malaysia's Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told local media that he could not confirm the claims but would look into the matter.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he had not heard about the report, adding: "China and Malaysia are working together on specific projects and both countries have maintained very good and friendly relations". "I have to refer back to any details explicitly said".
Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing.
Malaysian prosecutors say there is no conflict between the American attempt to extradite Ng and the charges he faces in Malaysia, and suggest the U.S. will wait for proceedings in Malaysia to wrap up before moving forward with their case.
Fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Low, the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB fraud, drew up plans for Malaysian officials to meet the Chinese and attended some of the meetings, the paper said.
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