Malaysia’s chief prosecutor has closed a corruption case involving Prime Minister Najib Razak, announcing Tuesday that he has been cleared of criminal charges over an alleged $700 million political donation into his personal bank accounts.
Attorney General Apandi Ali ruled out any wrongdoings by Razak in receiving or spending the donation during the May 2013 general election due to “insufficient evidence” to implicate the premier.
“Based on facts and evidence, no criminal offences have been committed by the PM in relation to three investigation papers. I hereby order the MACC [Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission] to close the investigation,” Ali told a packed press conference at his office.
Ali also revealed that the donor was the Saudi Arabian royal family, who he said had transferred $681 million rather than the $700 million previously speculated.
"Based on evidence from witnesses and supporting documents submitted by the MACC, the sum of $681 million was deposited into the personal accounts of the prime minister between March 22, 2013 and April 10, 2013,” he said.
"It was a personal donation to Najib from the Saudi royal family which was given to him personally without any consideration.”
Ali said Razak had returned some $620 million to the Saudi royal family in Aug. 2013 as the funds were not utilized during the election.
He added that the probe had involved personal meetings and recorded statements from witnesses, including the donor.
"I am satisfied that there was no evidence to show that the donation was a form of gratification given corruptly,” he said.
“Evidence obtained from the investigation does not show that the donation was given as an inducement or reward for doing of forbearing to do anything in relation to his capacity as a prime minister."
The MACC had opened three investigations into Razak over the funds, and two on the finance ministry's SRC International Sdn Bhd after international media released reports in July quoting documents from a probe into state investment vehicle 1MDB -- Razak's brainchild, of which SRC is a subsidiary -- that claimed that $700 million (or 2.67 billion Ringgit) from 1MDB ending up in Razak's accounts.
On Tuesday, Ali underlined that Razak had committed no wrongdoings with SRC.
“There [is] no evidence to show that the prime minister had any knowledge and, or was informed that the monies had been transferred into his personal accounts from the accounts of SRC International,” he said.
Razak had originally responded to the allegations by insisting that he had not swindled funds for personal gain, whether it be from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities.
In August, the Attorney General Chambers revealed that the funds were not from 1MBD, but political donations to the Razak-led United Malays National Organization (UMNO) for the party to remain in power during the 13th General Election
While politicians within UMNO had proudly declared that the funds came from "Middle East Royals" who wanted the party to retain power, Razak remained silent on the matter, insisting that political donations are confidential and donors would only be revealed if opposition parties agreed to follow suit.