PETALING JAYA: Malaysians were reminded today to wait for the hearings into the US Justice Department’s action on alleged embezzlement of 1MDB funds.
Outgoing US Ambassador Joseph Yun, in a farewell press interview, made a reminder that the action was a civil suit “which is yet to have its first hearing”.
In what appeared to be a caution against jumping to conclusions, Yun said: “We should really wait for the first hearing before we see where this goes.”
He said the Justice Department’s suit would not affect Malaysia-US ties as the legal action was mainly about protecting the US financial and banking system under the department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
“Since this is about protecting the US financial system and as it is a civil case, I see no effect that this should have on our bilateral relations,” he told The Star newspaper.
He drew a distinction between diplomatic relations, which are conducted by the State Department, and the 1MDB suit. Asked when the hearings would take place, he said: “This is a civil case that is done within the DoJ. They determine how to move on and so it is really up to them.”
He also said the US government was “quite close” to a decision soon on whether Malaysia would qualify for the US Visa Waiver Programme after reaching two key agreements to exchange data on criminals and terrorists.
Yun, 61, was posted here in 2013. He ends his tour of duty on Friday and will move on to be the State Department’s Special Representative for North Korea Policy.
Yun’s designated successor is Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, formerly an executive assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.