KUALA LUMPUR – Umno minister Nazri Aziz today accused the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) of linking Prime Minister Najib Razak to alleged embezzlement of 1MDB funds despite having no evidence of wrongdoing.
The tourism and culture minister said that if the DoJ had “so much evidence” it should have gone ahead to take legal action against Najib.
“In America, if there is evidence (of wrongdoing by an individual), they will go all out and charge (that individual).
“But because they have no evidence (against Najib), and as their intention is bad, they still want to link Najib (to the alleged embezzlement of 1MDB funds). So they mention the Malaysian Official One (MO1).
“(But) who the hell is MO1? Tell me. How can you charge somebody in court if that person is not identified,” he told a press conference here.
Another Umno minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan last year told British media network BBC that MO1 was Najib.
Asked about Rahman’s remark, Nazri said, “as far as we know, MO1 is nobody”.
“Even that (Rahman saying Najib is MO1) is just speculation. It’s not factual.”
Nazri offered a theory on why the DoJ opted to use the term MO1 instead of directly naming the person concerned.
“I want to ask, why mention MO1? Why not mention Najib Razak? Because there is not enough evidence. Let me tell you, in America if there is enough evidence, they will charge.”
The DoJ has filed two civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets worth US$1.8 billion (RM7.7 billion) that it claimed were bought with funds stolen from Malaysia’s state-owned 1MDB.
The suits comprised the largest legal action brought under the DoJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
The first suit was filed on July 21 last year in which the term MO1 was mentioned 36 times.
MO1 was again mentioned in the second suit filed in June this year, which claimed Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, had purchased a 22-carat pink diamond necklace worth US$27.3 million for the wife of MO1, using money from the same source.