Prime Minister Najib Razak’s hefty donation from Saudi royals — as revealed by the Attorney-General on Tuesday — was reportedly to help him win the 2013 general elections.
This revelation came from a Saudi insider who spoke to BBC News’ Frank Gardner in a report that has so far unravelled a little more about the mysterious $681m deposited into Najib’s bank accounts.
Quoting the Saudi source — described as ‘well-placed’ — the BBC reported that the money had been paid to Najib in several wire transfers from March to April 2013.
The 13th general elections were held on May 5, which the Barisan Nasional — despite a weak showing — went on to win.
The BBC quoted the source as saying that the donation had been made at a time when the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood — whose founders allegedly inspired Malaysian opposition party PAS — became a concern in Riyadh. The report also stated that the payment had been issued by Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah, ‘with funds coming from both his personal finances and state funds’.
According to the source, such donations were not unusual as Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Sudan “have all been beneficiaries of multi-$100m donations from the Saudi royal purse”.
“There is nothing unusual about this donation to Malaysia,” he was quoted as saying. “It is very similar to how the Saudis operate in a number of countries,” he was quoted further.
On Tuesday, Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali revealed in a hastily called press conference, that the ongoing investigation into Najib’s bank accounts has come to an end.
He also said that “there were no criminal offences or corruption involved”.
“There was no reason given as to why the donation was made to PM Najib, that is between him and the Saudi family,” Apandi said.