Malaysia agency says Najib Razak funds 'were donations'

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Malaysian PM Najib Razak (July 2015)Image source, AP
Image caption,
Najib Razak has vehemently denied wrongdoing over the scandal

Malaysia's anti-corruption agency has said hundreds of millions of dollars found in Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal accounts were donations, effectively clearing him of wrongdoing.

But it did not disclose who the donors were or what the donations were for.

It was investigating allegations funds were transferred to Mr Razak from the 1MDB state investment fund he set up.

Although Mr Najib denied the allegations, the scandal triggered calls for his resignation.

Last week, he replaced his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin, who had criticised his handling of the allegations. Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail, who led the investigation into the scandal, was also replaced, although state media said it was on health grounds.

'Unsubstantiated claims'

The 1Malaysia Development Bhd, also known as 1MDB, was set up in 2009 by Najib Razak.

The allegation is that he transferred nearly $700m (£450m) from the debt-ridden fund to his own personal account.

But even though the anti-corruption body said the money was from donors, the BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur says the questions from many critics have not been quelled.

Opposition parties and activists accuse the prime minister of using his position to influence the multiple investigations into 1MDB.

1MDB welcomed the findings of the commission and re-iterated its insistence that it has never given money to Mr Najib and that the allegations are unsubstantiated.

Mr Najib has long said he is the victim of "political sabotage" and has accused influential former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed of orchestrating a smear campaign to topple him.

What is 1MDB?

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Police checked documents and took away computers in the raid in Kuala Lumpur
  • The 1Malaysia Development Berhad state investment fund was started by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to turn Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub and develop the national economy.
  • It began attracting attention at the end of 2014 when it started missing payments. It later emerged that the fund was mired in $11bn (£7bn) of debt.
  • Mr Najib, who is the chairman of the fund's board of advisers, has been accused of taking $700m from the fund - a charge which he has denied and blamed on a political smear campaign.