Wall Street Journal ( WSJ ) today defended its investigative article accusing the prime minister of embezzlement, saying it was based on government investigations, the report of which was seen by Najib Abdul Razak himself.
In its report yesterday, WSJ revealed that almost US$700 million in 1MDB's funds had been deposited into Najib's private bank accounts through proxies.
"It is a serious investigation. The documents that we saw have been shared with the Malaysian attorney-general and others in the government.
"So they have been seen and seen by the prime minister," said WSJ Hong Kong bureau chief Ken Brown in an interview with TV station CNBC .
Najib, through his political secretary, had threatened to take legal action against WSJ .
However, Brown said WSJ stood by its report.
"We are very careful and we believe the investigation and documents we have are solid and come from reliable investigations and not a political investigation.
"It is a significant story and we take it very seriously.
Subsequent trail unknown
"Any time you see the leader of a country has been […] at least the evidence showed money flowing into his personal accounts and tied to government deals, it is hugely dramatic," he said.
Brown said the money trail ended at Najib's bank accounts and he did not know where the money subsequently went to.
Najib has vehemently denied the allegation.
"I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents – whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed," he said yesterday.
He had also questioned WSJ 's sources which cited Malaysian government investigators.
However, Brown noted that this response was no different from the prime minister's previous responses on 1MDB.