Malaysia police investigating spouse of ex-central bank boss over 1MDB funds

·2 min read
A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian police said on Wednesday it was investigating the husband of the country's former central bank head for allegedly receiving funds linked to 1MDB, a state fund at the centre of a massive corruption scandal.

Malaysian and U.S authorities have said around $4.5 billion was stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in a globe-spanning scandal that has implicated the country's former prime minister, U.S. investment firm Goldman Sachs, and others.

Tawfiq Ayman, the husband of former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, is facing a money laundering investigation over the alleged transfer of 1MDB-linked funds into a bank account he owns in Singapore, Malaysian police said on Wednesday.

"Given that the case investigation involves evidence in Malaysia and other countries, the Royal Malaysian Police is taking further action by seeking mutual legal assistance... to obtain statements from abroad," commercial crime investigations director Zainuddin Yaacob said in a statement.

A representative for Zeti and Tawfiq did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

When asked about the police probe, BNM referred to a statement that it disclosed all information received from foreign financial intelligence units to the relevant domestic law enforcement agencies.

Malaysian financial daily The Edge reported on Saturday that BNM had been alerted in 2015 and 2016 during Zeti's tenure as governor about suspicious transactions involving a company owned by Tawfiq and the couple's son.

The funds came from accounts linked to fugitive financier Jho Low, The Edge reported, citing official documents it had sighted. Reuters has not independently verified the report.

Low, who has consistently denied wrongdoing, is wanted in the United States and Malaysia over his alleged central role in the 1MDB theft.

Malaysia said on Wednesday audit firm Deloitte will pay the government $80 million to resolve claims related to its auditing of 1MDB's accounts between 2011 and 2014.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff and Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Martin Petty)