SWITZERLAND is looking to absorb RM400 million in funds liked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which was seized from several banks last year.
According to Malaysiakini, Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said the money is already with the Federal Treasury as there were no claimants.
However, lawmakers are set to debate a motion in the Swiss Parliament on March 15 calling for at least some of the money to be sent back to the country of origin.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) also told Malaysian pressure groups seeking the restitution of the funds that only people “directly damaged” by the actions of Swiss financial intermediaries can do so.
A coalition of 112 Malaysian pressure groups, led by Bersih and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, are seeking restitution of the funds to Malaysia.
According to Swiss law, restitution can only be done if the money will be used to improve the living conditions of the people in the country of origin or to strengthen the rule of law.
However, Maurer said it is still premature to be talking about restitution as the banks are appealing against the seizure of the funds.
Swiss authorities seized the money from three banks in November last year.
Several other countries have also started investigations into the 1MDB scandal including Singapore, Hong Kong and the US.
The US Department of Justice had filed three suits to recover about US$1 billion (RM3.9 billion) in assets that were allegedly purchased with money stolen from 1MDB, with US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions calling the case “kleptocracy at its worst”.
As much as RM2.6 billion had also been traced to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal accounts, but the prime minister said the money was a donation from Saudi Arabia and Malaysian investigators cleared him of any wrongdoing.