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Singapore seizes accounts as part of Malaysia fund probe

Authorities said the accounts were tied to investigations of Malaysia's scandal-ridden development fund. The announcement comes after Malaysia's prime minister was cleared of corruption allegations by the top prosecutor.

Singaporean authorities on Monday said they seized "a large number of bank accounts" in connection with their investigation into possible money-laundering offenses at Malaysia's state development fund 1MDB, in which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak serves as advisory board chairman.

"Singapore does not tolerate the use of its financial system as a refuge or conduit for illicit funds," said Singapore's central bank and police Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in a joint statement.

"In connection with these investigations, we have sought and are continuing to seek information from several financial institutions, are interviewing various individuals, and have seized a large number of bank accounts," the statement noted.

The central bank and CAD added that they are cooperating with authorities in Switzerland and the US, which are also investigating the matter.

On Friday, Switzerland's chief prosecutor said that some $4 billion was likely stolen from Malaysian state-owned companies, including the controversial 1MDB.

Cleared?

Malaysia Premierminister Najib Abdul Razak

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak

Last week, Malaysia's top prosecutor said $673 million (622 million euros) discovered in Prime Minister Razak's bank account in July was not taken from 1MDB, saying that it was a gift from the Saudi royal family.

The attorney-general added that due to the lack of criminal involvement in the case, he would not pursue further action against the Malaysian head of government.

The move relieved some mounting pressure for Razak to step down as prime minister over the corruption allegations.

ls/ (Reuters, AFP)