In a correspondence with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), its communications specialist Anthony Brovarone confirmed the request for additional information from the Malaysian authorities.
“The OAG can however confirm that the requested additional information have recently been transmitted to the Malaysian authorities through the diplomatic channels,” said Brovarone.
But he did not say whether the Malaysian counterparts have responded to this latest request.
Royal Bank of Scotland has become embroiled in the global investigation into 1MDB, with the Swiss financial watchdog opening a probe into the lender, according to two people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times reported today.
FT said the Swiss authorities have launched an inquiry in relation to “certain client accounts held with Coutts,” the former Swiss-based arm of RBS’s private bank, the bank disclosed on Friday.
Officials from Scotland are also cooperating with those from Switzerland on the matter.
FT said those familiar with the situation said two payments totalling $860m were made between September 2009 and September 2010 from 1MDB to an account in Coutts’ Zurich branch, known as the Good Star account.
In Kuala Lumpur, there are no word official comments on what is happening with the OAG requests, and with the investigations by the Swiss authorities.
Except for the regular 1MDB press releases denying any wrong doing, and insisting the Swiss OAG never contacted the sovereign firm in the ongoing investigations.
The OAG also confirmed, in another email, that documents related to request for mutual legal assistance related to the 1MDB case (opened on August 14, 2015) were sent to the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via the diplomatic channel.
“The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) confirms with satisfaction the transmission of the mutual legal assistance request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in the context of the OAG’s criminal proceedings concerning 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad),” said the email from Nathalie Guth.
Guth said the request, after transmission through the competent Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), has been delivered on 4th February 2016, in Kuala Lumpur through diplomatic channels as it is standard procedure.
She also stated the OAG took note with satisfaction of the reaction of its Malaysian counterpart and of its commitment to fully support Switzerland’s request for mutual assistance.
But Guth insisted the OAG can`t provide you with any further information concerning this topic at this moment.
Requesting updated information from the OAG, Brovarone told Worldfuturetv.com the Swiss procedure was opened against two former members of the Malaysian Sovereign Fund 1MDB, and against a person unknown. Brovarone could not specify who the person is and did not want to divulge the names of the other two 1MDB officials.
“I would add, and this is essential in Swiss law, the four defendants have until the end of the hearing of the presumption of innocence,” said Brovarone to Worldfuturetv.com political analyst Cordoba Ali.
He said criminal proceedings are conducted for suspected corruption of foreign public officials (art. 322septies CP), dishonest management of public interests (art. 314 PC), money laundering (art. 305 bis CP) and mismanagement (art. 158 CP). It was extended in April 2016 to two former Emirati officials in charge of the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds.
He also confirmed the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s name is not among the defendants, against whom proceedings will be launched once the investigations are finalised and if the accusations are proven.
Guth, on her part, said in Switzerland, ongoing criminal proceedings are, as a rule, confidential and we are generally bound by investigation secrecy and by official secrecy.
“That’s why the OAG is not able to go any further than its Media releases and won’t provide any update on our investigation at present being.
“The OAG can however confirm that the requested additional information have recently been transmitted to the Malaysian authorities through the diplomatic channels,” Guth said.
In a press release earlier this year:
On Jan 1, the OAG issued a press release which stated that as part of the criminal proceedings opened, the criminal investigation conducted by the OAG has revealed serious indications that funds have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies.
The monies believed to have been misappropriated would have been earmarked for investment in economic and social development projects in Malaysia.
So far four cases involving allegations of criminal conduct and covering the period from 2009 to 2013 have come to light in this connection (relating to Petrosaudi, SRC, Genting/ Tanjong and ADMIC), each involving a systematic course of action carried out by means of complex financial structures.
The sum suspected to have been misappropriated amounts to around USD 4 billion; its intended purpose is the subject of further investigations.
“So far it has been ascertained that a small portion of the money was transferred to accounts held in Switzerland by various former Malaysian public officials and both former and current public officials from the United Arabic Emirates,” said the communique.