Fallen Najib Razak has been implicated in a money laundering scandal involving major infrastructure projects. In 2016, Najib signed contracts, including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), with China at inflated prices.
In return, Chinese state-owned companies allegedly agreed to pay off the massive debts of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Najib And Kuwaitis
The payments were funneled through bank accounts owned by Kuwaiti individuals to conceal their true purpose. To bypass objections from state-owned agencies, Najib established a new special purpose vehicle compliant with overseeing the projects.
The scheme came to light during a court trial in Kuwait, where fugitive businessman Jho Low was sentenced to 10 years’ jail for his role in money laundering.
The court documents revealed Low’s involvement as one of the masterminds behind the deals. Najib’s aide, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, testified that he traveled to China with Low to negotiate the projects. The agreements included the ECRL, oil pipeline construction, a proposed high-speed rail, a multi-product pipeline, and the development of Labuan.
ECRL and China
The funds for these projects were transferred through subsidiaries of China Communications Construction Company and China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau to companies in Kuwait.
The Malaysian government and its agencies, MRL and SSER, were considered the victims of these theft-related crimes. Najib, who is already serving a jail sentence for other charges, is currently on trial for offenses related to 1MDB.
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