China ‘offered 1MDB bail-out’

China offered to help kill investigations into 1MDB: report

Malaysia to scrutinise China contracts after report of inflated deals struck to cover 1MDB debt

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad shakes hands with China's Premier Li Keqiang at the end of a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing August 20, 2018.

Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try and get the USA and other countries to drop probes of allegations that allies of then-Prime Minister Najib Razak and others plundered the fund, according to the newspaper.

China has dismissed a Wall Street Journal report today which claimed it offered the former Barisan Nasional government a deal to bail out 1MDB in return for contracts to further its "One Belt, One Road" agenda.

What China wanted in exchange were stakes in pipeline and railway projects for China's One Belt, One Road program of building infrastructure overseas.

Slamming the report, Low said it was journalistic responsibility of the WSJ to have approached such claims with scepticism and suspicion, and that it was unfortunate that these baseless political accusations were passed off as legitimate reporting.

1MDB, founded by former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, is the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations in at least six countries.

"China has all along adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of any other country".

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The government is unaware of the discussions detailed in the Journal report, which cited minutes from meetings the newspaper reviewed, and is examining the matter, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. "If this is said, this is something we will pursue".

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing, saying that certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB had lied to it about the proceeds of the bond sales.

Fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Low, the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB fraud, drew up plans for Malaysian officials to meet the Chinese and attended some of the meetings, the paper said.

"With the likelihood that the respondent will abscond, I am of the considered view that the respondent's presence (in court) can not be secured by the setting of bail or the setting of any condition to the granting of bail", he said.

In a statement issued on his Facebook page late on Tuesday, Najib said China had never offered to bail out 1MDB and he defended the cost of infrastructure projects awarded to China.

Within months, the government in Kuala Lumpur signed billions of dollars worth of deals with Chinese state companies backed by funding from Chinese banks.

The US justice department has estimated that a total of $4.5bn was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates.

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