Swiss investigate two PetroSaudi officials in 1MDB inquiry
Swiss prosecutors said on Tuesday they were investigating two officials from Saudi energy group PetroSaudi International as part of a wider inquiry into the suspected theft of assets from Malaysia’s 1MDB state fund, Reuters reports.
PetroSaudi said on Tuesday it was not itself the subject of any criminal investigations, denied any wrongdoing linked to its joint venture with the Malaysian fund, and said none of its officials had been involved in misappropriating any funds.
The news of the Swiss investigations marked an escalation in international inquiries into the suspected thefts, piling pressure on Malaysia’s government in the build-up to May 9 national elections.
1MDB is at the center of money-laundering probes in at least six countries, including Switzerland, the United States and Singapore. A total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, according to civil lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Swiss Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday it had launched investigations into two officials from PetroSaudi - which ran an energy joint venture with 1MDB from 2009 to 2012.
The investigations, first launched in November 2017, were linked to “suspicions of criminal mismanagement, fraud, bribery of foreign public officials, aggravated money laundering and misconduct in public office,” the Attorney General’s office said.
“One of the two suspects is also suspected of document forgery,” it added, without identifying either suspect. It said it had kept the inquiries under wraps to avoid jeopardizing the investigation.