By Linton Besser, Elise Worthington and Jaya Balendra
ABC News (29 March 2016)
So much money was pouring so rapidly into the Malaysian Prime Minister’s personal bank accounts that it rang internal money-laundering alarms inside AmBank, a major Malaysian institution part-owned by Australia’s ANZ.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were being wired into Najib Razak’s accounts from the Saudi Arabian Government, a mysterious Saudi prince and two shadowy British Virgin Island companies, while the head of a Malaysian state-owned company topped up the Prime Minister’s credit card accounts with millions of Malaysian ringgit in cash.
Mr Najib’s Platinum Mastercard and Platinum Visa had been overdrawn thanks to a 3,320,670.65 ringgit ($US1,039,369.91) purchase of jewellery in September 2014 — a spending spree described inside AmBank as a “huge volume”.
Mr Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor has previously been reported to have purchased a series of luxury items, from diamond jewellery to designer handbags, which appear beyond her husband’s $A130,000 official annual salary.
Between opening his account at AmBank on January 13, 2011 and April 10, 2013, Mr Najib received a total of more than $US1 billion — or, more precisely, $US1,050,795,451.58 — including a series of individual deposits that ranged between $US9 million and $US70 million.
Inside the bank, the Malaysian Prime Minister’s account was held under the codename “Mr X”.
The startling new banking records have been obtained as part of a Four Corners program that aired last night, and which resulted in the arrest of two members of its team, Linton Besser and cameraman Louie Eroglu.
The records also show that as well as spending some of the money on hotel accommodation and luxury cars, Mr Najib used the money to fund political affiliates in the run-up to Malaysia’s last 2013 elections.
Four Corners has established that Dr Zeti Aziz, the governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia’s central bank, was repeatedly warned about the Prime Minister’s unexplained wealth by senior officials at AmBank.
At one such meeting in September 2012, the ABC has been told Dr Aziz handed back the bank’s report, which had been marked “highly sensitive”, not wishing for Bank Negara to have a copy on its premises.
When the ABC asked Dr Aziz what action she took when she received these warnings, she said there were limitations on the scope of investigations that Bank Negara could itself conduct, but that it always reported information it received to relevant authorities.
In January, the Malaysian Attorney-General shuttered a corruption probe of the Prime Minister, declaring Mr Najib had no case to answer.
Despite this, Dr Aziz said there remained ongoing investigations.
Asked who was behind the money flowing into Mr Najib’s accounts, Dr Aziz said: “I cannot comment on this, it is an ongoing investigation.”