Malaysia’s government to probe Mahathir-era scandal in apparent distraction stunt

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In what looks for some as a distraction attempt from the escalating alleged embezzlement scandal revolving around state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Malaysian government said it will form an official panel to investigate a multi-billion-dollar foreign exchange deal involving the Malaysian central bank that went wrong over two decades under the premiership of Mahathir Mohamed.

A preliminary investigation found evidence of a possible cover-up of the case in which Bank Negara Malaysia allegedly lost $10 billion in forex market trades in the 1990s, the office of Prime Minister Najib Razak said, adding that the amount of losses was larger than what was reported to cabinet and parliament.

The investigation came just months after Mahathir formed a new political party aimed at toppling Najib at the general election next year. The Prime Minister, Mahatir’s former protégé, has been linked to the multi-billion-dollar financial scandal tied to 1MDB.

The formation of the investigation panel has been criticised by the opposition and some critical media  as a diversionary tactic to steer public attention away from the ongoing 1MDB scandal in which Najib is at the center of the controversy. Tellingly, the panel was also set up just a week after the US Department of Justice launched a third civil suit to recover about $540 million in assets that authorities say were stolen by financiers associated with 1MDB.

In a first reaction, Wan Azizah, a leading member of Malaysia’s opposition coalition with Mahathir, has called for the government to set up an investigation panel on the US claims on 1MDB as well.

“It would be just right to show that this investigation is not an act of selective politics or an attempt for the government to divert attention from the latest allegations made by the US Department of Justice with regards to the 1MDB scandal,” she said.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

In what looks for some as a distraction attempt from the escalating alleged embezzlement scandal revolving around state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Malaysian government said it will form an official panel to investigate a multi-billion-dollar foreign exchange deal involving the Malaysian central bank that went wrong over two decades under the premiership of Mahathir Mohamed.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In what looks for some as a distraction attempt from the escalating alleged embezzlement scandal revolving around state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Malaysian government said it will form an official panel to investigate a multi-billion-dollar foreign exchange deal involving the Malaysian central bank that went wrong over two decades under the premiership of Mahathir Mohamed.

A preliminary investigation found evidence of a possible cover-up of the case in which Bank Negara Malaysia allegedly lost $10 billion in forex market trades in the 1990s, the office of Prime Minister Najib Razak said, adding that the amount of losses was larger than what was reported to cabinet and parliament.

The investigation came just months after Mahathir formed a new political party aimed at toppling Najib at the general election next year. The Prime Minister, Mahatir’s former protégé, has been linked to the multi-billion-dollar financial scandal tied to 1MDB.

The formation of the investigation panel has been criticised by the opposition and some critical media  as a diversionary tactic to steer public attention away from the ongoing 1MDB scandal in which Najib is at the center of the controversy. Tellingly, the panel was also set up just a week after the US Department of Justice launched a third civil suit to recover about $540 million in assets that authorities say were stolen by financiers associated with 1MDB.

In a first reaction, Wan Azizah, a leading member of Malaysia’s opposition coalition with Mahathir, has called for the government to set up an investigation panel on the US claims on 1MDB as well.

“It would be just right to show that this investigation is not an act of selective politics or an attempt for the government to divert attention from the latest allegations made by the US Department of Justice with regards to the 1MDB scandal,” she said.

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