The embattled 1MDB started life in 2008 as the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), a sovereign wealth fund, and the following year was renamed 1Malaysia Development Berhad. Its stated mission is to “drive sustainable economic development by forging strategic partnerships and promoting foreign direct investment.”
It has been the subject of repeated allegations of financial wrongdoing, but there has been a shortage of hard proof to back up the accusations. The famous investigative website, Sarawak Report, has reproduced various confidential e-mails which they claim relate to 1MDB transactions and which suggest some questionable activities, but even those do not necessarily constitute hard evidence of fraudulent activity.
A highly controversial and apparently very wealthy young Malaysian named Jho Low features prominently in many of the stories. Despite apparently playing a very active role in some of 1MDB’s international transactions, he seemingly has no official position in the organisation. His flamboyantly high-spending lifestyle just adds another layer of intrigue and mystery to the many stories surrounding this organisation. What is evident is that 1MDB seems to be suffering from a major shortage of cash and no one can properly explain where these billions of ringgit went.
On the Prime Minister’s instructions, 1MDB is being investigated by the Auditor General’s office and the Public Accounts Committee. The Prime Minister has asked people to await the outcome of their audit before reaching any conclusions, though a quick scan of the local news shows that the court of public opinion seems to have already rendered its verdict.
Source: The Expat Magazine June 2015
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