Wednesday, January 27, 2016

RM2.08bil from Saudi royals, reports BBC

A Saudi Arabian source has confirmed with the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) that US$681mil (RM2.08bil) funds were channelled from the gulf nation into the personal bank account of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The unnamed source, whom the BBC claimed to be "well-placed", said that the payment was authorised by Saudi Arabia's late King Abdullah and sourced from his personal finances and state funds.

The BBC reported that the money was donated to help Barisan National win the 2013 General Election.

According to the BBC, the source said that the donation was made to thwart the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The BBC also explained that the founders of Opposition party PAS were inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, but acknowledged that the Brotherhood did not appear to have much support in Malaysia.

The Sunni Islamist Muslim Brotherhood organisation was first established in Egypt but has grown to influence other political parties worldwide.

During a press conference on Tuesday, The Attorney-General's Chambers absolved Najib of any criminal offences.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali stated that the "personal donation" of US$681mil (RM2.08bil), originally said to be (US$700mil) RM2.6bil, was given by the Saudi royal family "without any consideration" in several wire transfers sometime between March to April, 2013 before GE13 on May 5.

The AG added that US$620mil (RM1.89bil) was returned to the Saudi royal family in August 2013 because "the sum was not utilised".

The remaining US$61mil (RM186mil) has not been accounted for, said the BBC.

Prince Turki bin Abdullah, a son of the king, is believed to have had "extensive business dealings in Malaysia", the report said.

The source claimed that the donation was to help Barisan win GE13, to employ a strategic communications team with international experience, to aid Sarawak and to fund social programmes through party campaigning.

Saudi Arabia considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, the BBC said, and the move was also in light of former Egypt President Mohammad Morsi strengthening the Muslim Brotherhood at the time.

The report explained that Saudi Arabia also financially backed the military-backed government which overthrew Morsi.

The source explained that it was "nothing unusual" for the Saudi royal family to give millions in "personal donations" as it had previously done so in Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Sudan.

Apandi also cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in the matter of a RM4bil government loan in 2011 to SRC International, a former subsidiary of troubled strategic state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which had submitted the investigation papers, was then directed to close the files.

However, MACC special operations director Datuk Bahri Mohd Zin (pic) said late Tuesday that it was "most likely" that the Commission would consider appealing the A-G to reconsider its decision in the "straightforward case."

Najib has consistently denied claims that the funds were from 1MDB.

No comments: