1MDB: Money in Switzerland not ours, so can’t claim it

Reuters pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: 1Malaysia Development Bhd said today it cannot claim the 104 million Swiss francs (RM430 million) that Swiss lawmakers are deliberating returning to the rightful owners simply because the money does not belong to it or even the government of Malaysia.

“1MDB has previously stated and reiterates that it has not lost any money and that all its monies are fully accounted for,” it said in a statement today.

It added that the RM430 million was from fines imposed on banks by the Swiss financial regulatory authority and that it belonged to these banks.

1MDB also said the motion tabled for debate in the Swiss Parliament was not a specific motion on 1MDB or on Malaysia.

1MDB issued the statement following letters sent by DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and Pakatan Harapan president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to members of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland over a motion on this money that is to be debated in the National Council or Lower House of the Federal Assembly this week.

Wan Azizah and Lim had urged the Swiss MPs to repatriate the money, allegedly from 1MDB proceeds, which were seized by the country’s government.

Reports said Swiss Social Democratic Party lawmaker Carlo Sammaruga had tabled a motion at the Swiss National Council proposing that the money be repatriated to Malaysia.

“I have written to all 200 Swiss MPs to consider our request that the repatriation of the seized illicit funds of 1MDB is made by the government of Switzerland to Malaysia within the framework of mutual legal assistance procedures,” Wan Azizah said yesterday.

Lim had written a similar letter a week earlier.

1MDB said today it was the right of the Swiss National Council to debate any motion put before it and to make any decision that its members deemed appropriate.

Commenting on the June 16, 2017, motion, entitled Repatriation of Corruption Funds to the Robbed Populations, submitted for debate by Sommaruga in the Swiss National Council, 1MDB said:

“The motion is expressed in general terms, and mentions multiple companies and countries. It is not a specific motion on 1MDB or on Malaysia. On Aug 30, 2017, the Swiss Federal Council (equivalent of a cabinet), issued a detailed analysis of the motion and the Swiss cabinet proposed to reject the motion.”

The statement said that “among others”, about RM430 million was currently held by the Swiss federal treasury.

“This actually represents the amount ordered as disgorgement of profit, by the Swiss Financial Markets Authority (Finma), against certain banks, for alleged breach of Swiss laws.

“Therefore, the 104 million Swiss francs is a result of a fine by Finma, on certain banks.

“According to Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, the relevant banks have disputed the actions of Finma and are appealing the action in the Federal Administration Court.

“Thus, the 104 million Swiss francs is being claimed by the relevant banks. It cannot be claimed by 1MDB or the government of Malaysia as the money does not belong to 1MDB.

“Finma itself has stated that only those ‘directly damaged’ by the alleged actions of financial intermediaries in Switzerland are able to claim a share of any fines and that too, only through a legal process.”

1MDB, the statement reiterated, had not lost any money and, therefore, there was nothing to claim from the Swiss.

Switzerland faces law change call to return 1MDB profits to Malaysia

Civil society groups hail push to return 1MDB funds

NGOs working with Swiss MPs to get back frozen funds allegedly stolen from 1MDB

Bersih, C4, NGOs want Swiss to return RM433m 1MDB funds