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Thursday, 21 June 2018 | MYT 8:31 PM

Najib: I did not blame 1MDB board for scandal

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) has denied blaming the 1MDB board for the investment fund's debacle.

The former prime minister clarified that any board has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests and as such, the 1MDB board had a duty and responsibility to advise him on the running of the investment fund.

"He did not at any time during the interview (with Reuters) say that the 1MDB board was to be blamed for what had happened.

"Datuk Seri Najib will make further clarification on this at the appropriate time," a spokesman of the former premier said on Thursday (June 21).

To a question if he blamed the 1MDB board for the fund's troubles, Najib was reported to have said: "No. I am saying as a general principle, if they are in the know that something is not right, then it is incumbent upon them to tell me. It is the fiduciary duty of the board and the management to do the right thing. I expect them to do the right thing and to follow the law."

Najib was reported as saying that he should not be blamed for the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, and declared he knew nothing about money from the state fund appearing in his personal account.

Speaking to Reuters in his first sit-down interview since the shock May 9 election defeat, Najib reportedly said his advisers and the management and board of 1MDB had wrongly kept the alleged embezzlement of funds a secret from him.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told Reuters on Tuesday (June 19) that the authorities have "an almost perfect case" against Najib on charges of embezzlement, misappropriation and bribery linked to 1MDB.

"I would never authorise 1MDB funds to be used for any of these items. I've been in Government so long, I know what's right and what's wrong," Najib was quoted as saying.

Malaysian investigators looking into 1MDB say they believe that Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor have amassed vast amounts of wealth and property using funds from the state fund.

US prosecutors have alleged that more than US$4.5bil (RM18.02bil) of 1MDB funds were laundered through a complex web of transactions and shell companies.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed several lawsuits to claim about US$1.7bil (RM6.8bil) in assets, believed to have been stolen from 1MDB.

Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing in 1MDB. He has said US$681mil (RM2.72bil) transferred into his personal bank account was a donation from Saudi Arabia, and not as US lawsuits have alleged misappropriated funds from 1MDB.