International NGO Bruno Manser Fund has called on the Swiss government to suspend trade talks with Malaysia until the Malaysian authorities provide full mutual legal assistance in the Swiss Attorney-General’s Office (OAG) investigation into 1MDB.
OAG had requested Malaysia to provide assistance as early as January, which is still pending.
It again sought corroboration from Malaysia on Wednesday to obtain further evidence in relation with its latest finding, where US$800 million were allegedly misappropriated from investments in natural resources made by the SRC International sovereign fund.
“Swiss prosecutors are increasing pressure on Malaysia to provide mutual legal assistance in the ongoing investigation on the Malaysian state fund 1MDB,” said the Swiss-based NGO.
“The Swiss authorities suspect that a Ponzi scheme was used to conceal misappropriations from state-controlled SRC and 1MDB funds.
“Currently, four individuals and one bank are under investigation by the Swiss federal prosecutors.
“OAG also stated that while it had received documentary evidence from the authorities in Singapore, and it was still waiting for Malaysia to cooperate with its investigation,” Bruno Manser Fund added.
OAG opened proceedings against two former officials at 1MDB and against persons unknown on suspicion of bribery of foreign public officials, misconduct in public office, money laundering and criminal mismanagement, on Aug 14, 2015.
This was the trigger for the first OAG request for mutual legal assistance from the Malaysian authorities.
The investigation was extended, in April 2016, to include two former officials from the United Arab Emirates, and later led to the action against Swiss-based BSI Bank in May.
At this stage of the criminal proceedings in connection with the Malaysian sovereign funds 1MDB and SRC, four persons and one bank are under investigation.
In addition, the OAG has confirmed receipt, to its full satisfaction, of the evidence requested in April 2016 from the authorities in Singapore via mutual legal assistance.
While it is still waiting for the Malaysian response to its request for assistance, the OAG said that it remains confident that the two requests for mutual legal assistance made to the authorities in Malaysia will be executed.
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organisation, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources.
Malaysiakini is attempting to contact 1MDB, SRC International and the Malaysian Attorney-General’s Chambers for their response.