World

1MDB made $947m in debt payments: 
PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: State fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has cleared more than RM 3 billion (S$947 million) in debt over the past two years, Prime Minister Najib Razak said amid ongoing money-laundering probes linked to 1MDB in at least six countries.

The sovereign wealth fund, founded by Mr Najib, is at the centre of civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice that allege more than US$3.5 billion (S$4.9 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB.

There are investigations related to the fund also in Singapore and Switzerland.

Mr Najib's premiership was rocked by a series of reports by the Wall Street Journal since mid-2015 tracing how more than US$1 billion of 1MDB funds were transferred into his personal bank accounts.

Mr Najib, who had chaired 1MDB's advisory board until it was dissolved in May last year, has denied all allegations of corruption, saying that he has never received any funds from a state agency or for his own benefit.

The government has said that most of the funds transferred to the prime minister's his bank account had been gifted by a member of the Saudi royal family, and had subsequently been returned.

EARLY ELECTION?

Mr Najib is expected to call an early general election this year as he seeks to put the scandal to rest.

Mr Najib said 1MDB has settled its borrowings in full with four lenders over 2015 and last year.

These included credit and loan facilities from Affin Bank, Marstan Investments N.V., EXIM Bank and the Malaysian government.

"Currently, 1MDB does not have any bank loans or short term debts," he said. - REUTERS

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