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Friday, 1 April 2016

Luxembourg's state prosecutor launched a judicial inquiry into allegations of money laundering, covering payments totalling hundreds of millions of dollars, against Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). The investigation aims to trace the origin of four transfers in 2012 and one at the start of 2013 for a total of several hundreds of millions of dollars.



Luxembourg launches money laundering inquiry into Malaysian state fund

BRUSSELS/KUALA LUMPUR: Luxembourg's state prosecutor launched a judicial inquiry into allegations of money laundering, covering payments totalling hundreds of millions of dollars, against Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The prosecutor said the inquiry followed evidence that funds held by the Malaysian government in offshore accounts in Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg had been misused.

"The investigation aims to trace the origin of four transfers in 2012 and one in at the start of 2013 for a total of several hundreds of millions of dollars," the statement said.

The allegations concerned in particular the sums paid upon the issuance of two bonds in May and October 2012.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been the subject of multiple investigations over the last year by authorities in Malaysia, Switzerland, Singapore and the United States following accusations of financial mismanagement and graft.

In a statement issued late on Thursday, 1MDB said it has not been contacted by any foreign legal authorities on matters related to the company. 

"However, we remain committed to fully cooperating with any lawful authority and investigation, subject to advice from the relevant domestic lawful authorities, and in accordance with international protocols governing such matters," it said. 

Switzerland's chief prosecutor said in January that a criminal investigation into 1MDB had showed about US$4 billion (£2.7 billion) appeared to have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies.

SINGAPORE REVIEWING VARIOUS TRANSACTIONS, FUND FLOWS: MAS
Australian broadsheet The Australian on Wednesday stated that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has asked "close to 40 banks with a presence in the city-state to provide information about money flows from entities linked to 1MDB". 

The report alleged that MAS had scrutinised transfers of "as little as A$50,000 (US$38,481)", and added that the queries in this case are believed to "fall short of a more serious formal direction compelling them to provide information".

In response to media queries, MAS said it has been conducting a "thorough review of various transactions as well as fund flows" through its banking system as part of investigations into "possible money-laundering and other offences in Singapore". 
It added that it is working closely with and seeking clarifications from authorities in other financial centres "given the cross-border nature of these fund flows". 

"MAS has requested a number of financial institutions to furnish information relating to the review," its spokesperson said on Thursday. 

"Besides any enforcement actions by the relevant authorities in Singapore for possible violations of our laws, MAS will not hesitate to take regulatory actions against financial institutions should they be found to have breached our banking rules," its spokesperson added. 

In February, Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department as well as MAS had seized a "large number" of bank accounts in relation to a probe into 1MDB.