Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly benefited from millions of dollars transferred from the troubled state-fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The premier claims the money was a gift from Saudi Arabia.
A US-based paper reported on Thursday that Najib Razak used the money to purchase clothes, jewelry and a car. The Wall Street Journal said it had seen documents that contain bank transfer information involving stores in several countries, including the US, Malaysia and Italy.
The prime minister's office did not comment on the news report. The Wall Street Journal first reported in July last year that in 2013, 2.6 billion ringgit ($673 million) was allegedly transferred to Najib from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The indebted state fund is reportedly under investigation by authorities in Switzerland, Hong Kong and the US.
Najib initially denied taking the money but then shifted his explanation, saying it was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family. The premier maintains, however, that he has not used the funds for personal gain, and has since been cleared of any criminal offense or corruption by the country's top prosecutor.
Calls to resign
The Wall Street Journal's report was met with outrage in Malaysia, prompting calls for Najib to step down, even from within the ruling party, the United Malays National Organization.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and sacked Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin have also joined forces with the opposition to lead a movement called "Save Malaysia," which aims at forcing Najib to quit his post.