KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Switzerland is investigating six people on suspicion of bribing foreign officials and other offences, as part of a money laundering investigation into Malaysian state fund 1MDB, the Swiss attorney general’s office said on Tuesday.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is not one of the “public officials under accusation”, the statement said. It was issued after Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber met with his Malaysian counterpart Tommy Thomas in Kuala Lumpur.
1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB as it is known, is at the center of money laundering investigations in at least six countries, including Switzerland, Malaysia and the United States.
The U.S. Department of Justice has said an estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, a fund founded by Najib.
Najib, prime minister until a shock May 9 election loss, was arrested and charged last week by Malaysian authorities for abuse of power and criminal breach of trust in connection with transactions linked to SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.
Najib pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was released on bail. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.
The six people under investigation by Swiss authorities are two former officials from 1MDB, two former officials from Abu Dhabi sovereign funds and two officials of Saudi energy group Petrosaudi, the Swiss Attorney General’s statement said.
At a press conference, Lauber said Switzerland was investigating funds linked to both 1MDB and SRC.
“The whole funding of 1MDB and SRC International is about $7 billion,” Lauber said, referring to the funds his office says originated from 1MDB and SRC and flowed through the global financial system from 2009 to 2015.
“This is just what we saw in our investigations in Switzerland, so a part (of it) most likely went through Switzerland and other parts went somewhere else,” he said.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier that former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner was in talks with U.S. prosecutors to potentially plead guilty to criminal charges stemming from an alleged scheme to steal billions of dollars from 1MDB.
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