Malaysia sets up new task force over 1MDB scandal
Police confiscated designer handbags and suitcases containing cash from homes belonging to Najib [Sadiq Asyraf/AP]
Malaysia has set up a special task force that will look into the possible criminal conduct of individuals involved in the management of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the prime minister's office said.
The task force, which will include the anti-graft agency, police and the central bank, will also be responsible for identifying and seizing assets acquired using funds allegedly siphoned from the state fund, which was set up in 2009 by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Najib's near 10-year rule ended in electoral defeat on May 9 against Mahathir Mohamad, his former ally.
"This task force will also be responsible for seeking cooperation of various enforcement agencies in the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Canada and other related countries," the office of Prime Minister Mahathir said on Monday.
All heads of the new task force were part of the investigations into 1MDB in 2015 before they were removed or sidelined by the government at the time.
The news site Malaysia Kini reported on Monday that former Attorney General Abdul Gani, who is a member of the new body, had told Mahathir that he was in the midst of preparing to charge Najib when he was removed.
Najib, who is banned from leaving the country, is being investigated by the new government of Mahathir over a corruption scandal at 1MDB, from which officials are alleged to have stolen more than $4.5bn.
Some of that money is alleged to have ended up in Najib's personal bank account, according to a civil lawsuit in the US.