The ball is now in attorney-general (AG) Mohamad Apandi Ali's court, says veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin, after a Saudi minister refuted claims that the RM2.6 billion deposited into the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's personal accounts are no-strings-attached donations, as claimed by the AG when exonerating Najib of wrongdoings.
"And what would Apandi do now? Would he stick to his guns or would he make discreet checks to see if he has been lied to?
“Who knows those tonnes of papers submitted to him by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Bank Negara may not all be works of fiction?"
He reminded Apandi that on Jan 26, the AG told the press that RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal accounts was a donation from the Saudi royal family, given without any consideration.
Kadir further pointed out that Apandi had unilaterally absolved the PM of all wrongdoings based on the 'donation' premise.
While conceding that the British Broadcasting Corporation ( BBC ) corroborated Najib's story as told by Apandi, saying the amount was donated by the Saudi royal family, Kadir said that the latest revelation by Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister, Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir has changed the game.
He pointed to Adel's quotes in the New York Times ( NYT ) newspaper as saying that he does not think that the monies which made its way into Najib's bank account was from the Saudi government or that it was a political donation.
Kadir posited that between the BBC 's source-based news and NYT 's attributed reporting, he would choose to believe the latter.
"Its series of expose on 1MDB-related shenanigans have been largely accurate - accurate enough so as to discourage Najib from suing it, despite making several threats."
Kadir related that the NYT quoted the Saudi minister as saying the money went to an investment in Malaysia, as well an unnamed member of the Saudi royal family who also confirmed that the money did come from a Saudi prince, but that it was not a donation but was part of a business deal.
This, noted Kadir, is counter to what Najib and his supporters claim - that the money was for use during the 2013 General Elections and for fighting terrorism.
"Would the the AG advise the prime minister and his number one lawyer, Mohd Hafarizam Harun, to issue another legal threat against the paper?" he asked.
Kadir added that he expects Najib’s deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi "to complain vigorously to the Saudi government for making such a statement to the press and not directly to him".
"He must. Otherwise he will be accused of lying too because he had repeatedly sworn that he knew the Arab donors and had met them in Saudi Arabia," he said further.
Malaysiakini has sent queries to the AG and is awaiting his reply on the matter raised by Kadir.