KUALA LUMPUR: Information and evidence gathering to bring closure to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal is the government’s next step following the sensational revelations in US federal court by former Goldman Sachs South-East Asian operations chief Tim Leissner.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said claims made in Leissner’s testimony were previously unknown to the government as such information was not shared by the United States.
“The Prime Minister said earlier in this House that he viewed corruption seriously and I also take the matter seriously.
“We are tired of (claims) by some quarters that there seems to be no end to this issue.
“Be assured that we will use government-to-government relations to obtain… information to further investigate and gather evidence with regard to 1MDB,” she said when replying to issues raised in the Parliamentary Special Chambers meeting on Tuesday (March 1).
“The government only just became aware of what (Leissner claimed).
“Before this, such information was held by the US Justice Department, and was not shared with the Malaysian government,” she added.
She described the recent development as a positive step forward in helping Malaysian authorities carry out further investigations of the scandal.
She was responding to issues raised during debates on an emergency motion by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) to discuss the revelations made by Leissner in the ongoing US trial of former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng.
Leissner is the star witness in Ng’s corruption trial.
In his testimony, Leissner said former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s husband, Datuk Dr Tawfiq Ayman, was bribed to facilitate approval of an “overnight” foreign exchange transfer of some US$1bil from 1MDB to PetroSaudi International.
On investigations into Tawfik, Mas Ermieyati confirmed that police here had opened investigation papers against him for alleged money laundering on Oct 14, with the findings submitted to the Attorney General (AG) on Dec 7.
However, she said the AG had returned the investigation papers to the police with instructions to carry out further investigations with their counterparts in Singapore.
(Tawfiq has denied that he took any bribe, adding that he did not know Leissner or Ng).
Earlier, Anwar said the government must reveal information of which Bank Negara and other agencies were aware with regard to previous investigations of the 1MDB scandal.
Anwar also called on the government to carry out detailed investigations into Leissner’s claims.
He said the investigation should be carried out not only by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) but also include Bank Negara, the Inland Revenue Board and police.