Dr Mahathir says Saudi minister’s U-turn is “immaterial” and the government “knows” the RM2.6 billion is from 1MDB.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday confirmed that the RM2.6 billion had come from 1MDB, refuting claims made by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the money had been a donation from the Saudi royal family.
Mahathir said the issue had been discussed in a meeting with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir on Friday after he paid a courtesy call on him.
Adel had claimed that the RM2.6 billion had nothing to do with the Saudi government, which was contrary to what he had said two years ago that the Saudis had donated it to Najib.
On whether he believed what Adel said then or what he was saying now, Mahathir said that was immaterial.
“What is important is documentary proof, whether the money came from 1MDB or from Saudi Arabia. You can’t transfer huge sums of money without leaving a record.
“If they say it is from Saudi Arabia, show the records. If it is not from Saudi Arabia, we have to find out where it came from.
“As far as we know, it comes from 1MDB,” he said at a press conference at PPBM headquarters yesterday after chairing the party’s supreme council meeting.
Adel had, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, said the RM2.6 billion donation had nothing to do with the Saudi Arabian government.
Najib, in a Facebook post yesterday evening, said that based on bank documents that he had made public earlier, the funds were channelled directly from Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry and from the royal family.
He also stated that Adel himself had, twice, said that Saudi Arabia had donated the money to him.
On whether Adel was saying something different now, just to please the current government, Mahathir said “maybe. But I do not know what he is thinking”.
“I did not ask him why (he denied the money had anything to do with the Saudi Arabian government). He just said it is not true. That’s all,” he said.
To a question on Najib, in an Al Jazeera interview, urging the authorities, to also investigate international figures linked to 1MDB, and not just controversial businessman Jho Low, Mahathir said: “Okay, ask him to make a report, then we will go after them.”
Najib, in the interview, had claimed there were other international figures who were probably involved and must be probed.
“We want to know where the money flowed to. And who really benefited from the whole 1MDB issue. I would like to know too,” he said.
To a question on whether the Malaysian authorities were looking for the infamous 22-carat pink diamond pendant linked to Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, Mahathir said “of course we are looking for lost money and jewellery and handbags. We are looking for them”.
Najib had, in the same interview, claimed that the diamond was a gift from UAE royalty.
He denied that the diamond – purportedly bought with money from 1MDB – was a gift from Jho Low.
On whether Malaysia will go after the Saudi Arabian or Abu Dhabi royal families, should they be involved in the scandal, Mahathir said:
“Well, we find it difficult to impose laws on people in other countries. But if they have committed a crime in Malaysia, affecting Malaysians or Malaysian money, they come here we will arrest them.
“As for whether it will affect diplomatic relations, that is another matter we have to resolve. But a crime is a crime,” he added.