The Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB has denied providing funds to the country's prime minister. It follows media reports that entities linked to the fund had deposited millions into Najib Razak's personal accounts.
Both investment fund 1MDB and Prime Minister Najib Razak's office have denied allegations, reported in "The Wall Street Journal," that banks, companies and government agencies linked to state fund 1MDB had wired some $700 million (631 million euros) into Najib's personal accounts.
"There have been concerted efforts by certain individuals to undermine confidence in our economy, tarnish the government and remove a democratically elected prime minister," Najib's office said in a statement in reaction to the reports, calling them a "continuation of political sabotage."
For its part, 1MDB called the reports "highly irresponsible" and said it "wishes to make clear that the company has never provided any funds to the prime minister."
The state investment fund has faced criticism over its debt of more than $11 billion and allegations of financial mismanagement. It is currently under investigation by Malaysian authorities. Najib chairs the fund's advisory board.
Citing documents from a government probe, "The Wall Street Journal" reported that there were five deposits into Najib's account, with the largest transactions carried out in March 2013 during an election campaign in Malaysia. 1MDB questioned the authenticy of the documents.
While the allegations are investigated, two opposition parties have called on Najib to take a leave of absence.
"He must set himself aside; it would show that he is confident of his innocence. If he refuses, there will be suspicion that someone is trying to cook the books," People's Justice Party (PKR) lawmaker Tian Chua said.
se/kms (Reuters, AP)