The publication today of devastating articles in the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report tying Prime Minister Najib Razak to the diversion of nearly US$700 million from the state-backed 1MDB into his own accounts could be the final blow to bring down a leader who has been bullet-proof from years of charges against his integrity.
The danger is that there have been so many smoking guns in the past, including detailed evidence by French investigators of bribes to buy French submarines when Najib was defence minister, that yet another won’t matter.
Nonetheless, according to the two publications, government investigators in Malaysia have traced the money in deposits from 1MDB into Najib’s personal bank accounts.
The investigators’ findings apparently were leaked, possibly through former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has been on a two-year crusade to drive Najib from office and put him in jail.
Given the considerable details of the information now in print, he may well succeed, although sources in Kuala Lumpur have told Asia Sentinel that Mahathir has considerably more information.
Attempts to reach the former premier in the past have been uniformly unsuccessful.
“If this is true, it’s a TKO for Najib,” said a Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer.
“Go to jail, do not pass go. It looks like the Tun [Mahathir] has dropped the nuke.”
Go to Asia Sentinel for full report .