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Malaysia anti-graft agency: Recordings show Najib cover-up

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It releases tapes of ex-M'sia PM asking Abu Dhabi prince to fake loan agreement

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia's disgraced former leader Najib Razak allegedly sought help from Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince to conceal wrongdoing linked to a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal, recordings released yesterday by investigators showed.

Huge sums were looted from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad and used to buy items ranging from a superyacht to art, in a fraud allegedly involving Najib and his inner circle.

The allegations contributed to Najib's shock 2018 election loss, and he has since been put on trial over the scandal. He denies any wrongdoing.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) released a 2016 recording of Najib calling Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Zayed Al-Nahyan to urge him to help his stepson, Hollywood producer Riza Aziz.

The call came shortly after the US filed lawsuits seeking to recover large amounts allegedly pilfered from 1MDB, with Riza accused of receiving money to fund his production company Red Granite Pictures.

Najib urged the Crown Prince to help fabricate a loan agreement for Mr Riza, which would suggest money that flowed to him was "a legitimate... financing package, it's not money-laundering", according to the recording.

"At the moment he's under a bit of pressure in America; I'm worried about him in case they make him a scapegoat," he said.

"He's totally innocent, all he wanted was to make movies."


Red Granite Pictures, which produced The Wolf Of Wall Street, later settled with the US authorities, but Riza has been charged in Malaysia.

In another call, Najib pressed the Crown Prince to meet him to resolve a dispute between 1MDB and the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, relating to repayments on bonds the Malaysian fund had missed.

MACC alleged in one clip, Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor was heard expressing her displeasure over a certain matter related to MACC investigations.

It played nine recordings of phone conversations from 2016 to the media, which also included Najib allegedly colluding with a then public prosecutor to hide wrongdoing.

The recordings showed evidence of "abuse of power, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, compromising national security, fabrication of false evidence", MACC chief Latheefa Koya said.

Najib told reporters yesterday he was "shocked by this revelation" and is looking at legal options as the clips would have allegedly been recorded while he was the head of government.

"I'm studying the content and I have referred this matter to my lawyers. This has never been done in the history of this country," he said.

All Rosmah would say was: "My lawyers will take care of it."

Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said they have yet to receive the recordings from MACC.

"Once we do, my officers will evaluate and analyse it before deciding on further action," he said. - AFP, REUTERS, THE STAR