CIMB chairperson Nazir Abdul Razak has reportedly confirmed receiving nearly US$7 million from his brother, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Nazir confirmed to The Wall Street Journal in a written statement that he did receive the sum allegedly in his private account, which he said was later disbursed by bank staff to ruling-party politicians according to the instructions of party leaders.
However, Nazir told WSJ , he believed the money was from donations he helped raise from Malaysian corporations and individuals for the elections, and is not sure of any other source of the funds.
“I had no knowledge whatsoever that these funds may have originated from any other source(s),” he is quoted as saying in the WSJ report today.
“The entire amount was paid out in cash to various recipients according to the instructions of the party (Umno) president (Najib) and the account was closed with a zero balance,” he added.
WSJ added that a spokesperson for CIMB declined to comment when contacted. Malaysiakini has also contacted Nazir and is awaiting his response.
WSJ also claimed it sighted Malaysian investigation documents, which purportedly indicate that “the majority” of the funds in the accounts originated from 1MDB.
The report also detailed various personal expenses they allege were revealed in the documents.
WSJ alleged that the documents it sighted also detailed how "Najib used the funds to operate a large political machine, with money flowing from his accounts to politicians, think tanks and lawyers during a close election in 2013".
The prime minister purportedly made more than 500 payments from the accounts, the bulk of them to political players, said the publication.
"Tens of millions of dollars of such payments occurred ahead of the May 2013 elections, which Najib’s party risked losing for the first time since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957," it noted.
WSJ also said that some US$44 million (RM142.8 million) from Najib’s accounts allegedly went to a company called Solar Shine Bhd. which the business paper claimed was used by the ruling party to distribute small handouts like food and stationery to voters around elections, quoting newspaper reports and a person familiar with the matter.
"Ruling-party organisations and think-tanks got large amounts, according to the documents," said the publication adding that attempts to locate Solar Shine were unsuccessful.
Najib, who WSJ said was seen by the United States government as "a liberal, Western-friendly leader" when he first came into power in 2009, did not respond to requests for comment, noting that the PM has "strenuously denied wrongdoing".
The report also said that another transfer of almost US$70,000 (RM275,000) went to the prime minister’s son, Norashman Najib, on July 4, 2014.
Malaysiakini has also contacted Norashman and is awaiting his response.
In a statement today, 1MDB maintained it did not transfer any funds to the PM's personal bank accounts.
It stressed that investigations showed the funds came from Saudi Arabia, but WSJ continues to repeat the allegations with proof.
It added that the timing of WSJ's report is also suspect, as it comes days after 1MDB successfully completed its sale of Edra Global Energy Bhd.
1MDB said it will repay the RM6 billion debts in the next weeks.
Najib has repeatedly denied abusing public funds for personal gain and blamed such allegations on those attempting to topple him.
Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali has also cleared him of any wrongdoing with regard to the funds in his accounts, including the RM2.6 billion which is said to be a donation from a Saudi royalty.
Government leaders have also accused WSJ of being part of the campaign against the prime minister while 1MDB has criticised the publication of recycling unverified allegations.
On Tuesday, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) published a letter from a Saudi prince who pledged US$375 million for Najib.