1MDB used as a Ponzi scheme: Swiss prosecutor

Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber visits Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas in Putrajaya

Swiss authorities are now investigating six people for their alleged involvement in the multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal and two Swiss banks - Falcon Private Bank and BSI SA - remain under suspicion, Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber told reporters on Tuesday in Putrajaya following a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Tommy Thomas.

"We think it was a pretext, it was kind of a Ponzi scheme", Mr Lauber said in an interview after the briefing. "We are not talking about weeks or months, we are talking about years. we started about three years ago, we are quite early - we always calculate between five and seven years for high-profile cases - we are now in the middle".

Lauber said he was confident that the coordination could be set up, but "it was not yet there".

"And only then as the second step, we are able by legal obligations to have the monies restituted", he said.

Overall, Lauber is expecting the investigation and proceedings to spread out over the course of a few years. "In [Swiss] legislation, we organise and manage the investigation".

The former AG says he met his Swiss counterpart twice and was merely following the law in denying the request for mutual legal assistance.

"Even if it takes several years, it's the average", he said.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun confirmed today that officers from the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) have been issued affidavits from lawyers representing former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who accused the force of violating SOPs in the raids at Pavilion Residences. The 1MDB scandal's alleged mastermind and now fugitive Low Taek Jho, or also known as Jho Low, is also not being pursued by the Swiss government, added the Swiss AG.

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After the meeting with Thomas, Lauber told reporters yesterday (10 July) that Swiss authorities are now investigating six people who are allegedly involved in the 1MDB scandal, while two Swiss banks, Falcon Private Bank and BSI SA, remain under suspicion.

"It's a complex and huge global case", he said.

Swiss prosecutors in May revealed they had opened criminal proceedings into two former officials of PetroSaudi.

On the other hand, he clarified that up to now, his team has not made any official contact with 1MDB despite the fund saying previously it was ready to cooperate with foreign investigators in the ongoing probes. "If it's necessary to co-operate with 1MDB officials, then it's a different story and we'd like to see how it's possible".

Switzerland has been investigating how billions of dollars earmarked for economic development through 1MDB was diverted and made its way into Swiss banks.

According to a statement by the Swiss AG's office yesterday, the main emphasis of the discussions during the visit was on the need to affirm a mutual commitment to the rule of law and the resumption of MLA between the two jurisdictions.

"This is just what we saw in our investigations in Switzerland, so a part (of it) most likely went through Switzerland and other parts went somewhere else, " he said.

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