A total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level officials of the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and their associates, the U.S. Justice department has said.
Malaysian police investigating a scandal at state fund 1MDB are questioning more than 50 individuals who received payments from a sum of $972 million that entered the personal bank account of former prime minister Najib Razak, an official said on Thursday.
Police are recording statements of those who received funds from Najib’s personal account, among them some with political affiliations and foreigners, said deputy police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim.
The fund, founded by Najib, is at the center of money-laundering probes in at least six countries, including Singapore Switzerland and the United States.
“We are in the process of taking their statements,” Noor Rashid told a news conference. Asked if any of the 50 would be charged in the investigation, he replied, “There is a possibility.”
A total of 132 money laundering transactions have been identified and further investigations are being pursued, the police said in a statement later.
Police added that statements have been taken from 64 people, including Najib and his daughter Nooryana Najwa Najib, with more to come, as they track down those involved, or persons of interest, in the scandal.
Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving Malaysia after his decade in power ended in a shock election defeat in May, and the new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, relaunched an investigation into the troubled fund.