KUALA LUMPUR: The US Justice Department’s (DoJ) probe into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal is independent of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meeting with US President Donald Trump today.
Trump’s administration refused to comment on the matter during a media briefing by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday.
“Look, we are not going to comment on an ongoing investigation being led by the DoJ, and that investigation is apolitical and certainly independent of anything taking place tomorrow (today),” she said when asked whether Trump would address or avoid the issue.
Earlier, Sanders said Trump was looking forward to discussing a wide-ranging security issues with Najib.
She said the US and Malaysia “have had a 60-year relationship and partnership built on common economic and security interests and that continues”.
“The president looks forward to discussing a wide variety and wide range of regional security issues with the prime minister and talking about ways that they can strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation.
“… certainly the halt of the Islamic State, addressing North Korea and their continued actions and making sure that we promote maritime security in the South China Sea, these are certainly some of the priorities of tomorrow’s (today’s) meeting,” she said when asked about what the meeting was expected to achieve.
The DoJ had in July last year, led a civil suit seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion (RM4.2 billion) in assets linked to an “international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated” from 1MDB, which has been described as the largest case ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
The department was seeking to recover US$540 million (RM2.2 billion) in assets from 1MDB in the civil action.
These include artwork, jewellery and film rights that it alleged were bought with misappropriated funds.
Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali had concluded that the suit was politically motivated as the DoJ did not request for any statement or official information from the AG’s office on the allegations it made against 1MDB.