Malaysia PM cleared of corruption

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives for a news conference at a mosque outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this 5 July 2015 file photoImage copyright

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Mr Najib has consistently denied allegations of corruption

Malaysia’s top prosecutor has cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak of corruption in a long-running financial scandal that has gripped the nation.

The attorney-general’s office said the $681m (£479m) Mr Najib received in his bank account was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family.

Critics had alleged the money came from state-owned investment fund 1MDB.

Mr Najib has consistently denied these accusations, but has faced pressure to resign over them.

Anti-corruption officials have previously said he received money as a gift from a foreign funder.

The BBC’s Asia Business Correspondent Karishma Vaswani says the scandal has hit Malaysia’s reputation and economy at a time when it is already suffering from low oil prices and reduced global demand for its products.

‘Personal donation’

Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali said in a press statement on Tuesday that the amount was a “personal donation” from the royal family in Saudi Arabia, transferred between the end of March and early April 2013.

He added that anti-corruption officials had met witnesses including the person they identified as the donor to confirm it.

“I am satisfied that there is no evidence to show that the donation was a form of gratification given corruptly,” he said, adding that evidence did not show the donation was used as an “inducement or reward” for Mr Najib to do anything in his capacity as prime minister.

He added that in August that year, Mr Najib returned about $620m to the Saudi royal family as it was not used.

Malaysia held its last general election in May 2013, which returned Mr Najib’s party to power but with one of its poorest showings on record.

The attorney-general also said no criminal offence was committed by Najib in relation to three other related investigations and that no further action would be taken.

Calls for the Malaysian Prime Minister to step down since the scandal broke have been growing, but the decision will no doubt shore up his political position for the time being – at least within the ruling party, says our correspondent.

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