The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) released several audio recordings of conversations that allegedly show former Prime Minister Najib Razak abusing his power to conceal wrongdoings linked to 1MDB.
Revealed in a special press conference on 8 January 2020, the audio clips pertained Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and others conspiring to manipulate information regarding the massive corruption scandal.
Details and what were discussed include:
In a recording dated 5 January 2016, then-public prosecutor Dzulkifli expressed to Najib he was worried that the 1MDB investigation papers were known to about 20 people. Dzulkifli asked, “how can we cover this up?” and also said that he and former Attorney-General Apandi Ali can handle the matter on the legal side.
There were several conversations in July 2016. One of it was a discussion with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, where Najib sought help signing a loan agreement for his stepson Riza Aziz’s movie The Wolf of Wall Street. Najib commented that such an agreement would “show it’s a legitimate financing package, it’s not money laundering.” He added, “I don’t want him to be a victim when he was totally unaware of the source of money.”
Another audio clip – dated 26 July 2016 – depicted Najib reaching out to the crown prince to secure a meeting to discuss how to resolve the “impasse” associated to 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. This followed the U.S. Department of Justice filing lawsuits to seize assets linked to 1MDB and saying $3.5 billion had been misappropriated from the Malaysian state fund.
In another recording, Rosmah Mansor is heard telling Najib to renounce a negotiation between 1MDB and IPIC. The two discussed inviting representatives from the United Arab Emirates to settle the matter without arbitration. Rosmah says to her husband: “darling, you are the prime minister, you should take charge.”
The MACC has verified the recordings and vouches for their authenticity, comments Chief Commissioner Latheefa. “After receiving it, we have conducted our own forensic to determine its authenticity and the people involved (in the recordings),” she shares. The agency will hand the clips to the police as they showcase elements of abuse of power, obstruction of justice and fabrication of evidence, which fall under the penal code.
When asked about the audio clips, Najib comments that he is, “shocked by the revelation.” The former premier states to reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur courtroom that he is, “studying its content and I have referred the matter to my lawyer.” He said he needed to review the matter when asked to confirm the veracity of the clips.