Cops raid Deloitte office in 1MDB probe

KUALA LUMPUR: Police on Thursday raided the offices of auditor Deloitte as they ramped up investigations into a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal, an official said.

Huge sums were stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB, allegedly by former prime minister Najib Razak and his cronies, who are said to have spent it on everything from yachts to rare artwork. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Deloitte has come under scrutiny after it audited 1MDB’s 2013 and 2014 financial statements.

Mazlan Mansor, the police head of commercial crime, confirmed to AFP that a raid had taken place on Deloitte’s office “in the course of 1MDB investigations”.

Police seized documents and files during the operation, The Star newspaper had reported.

Malaysia’s securities regulator had already fined the firm RM2.2 million in January for breaches related to a 1MDB bond issuance.

Deloitte was the third major accounting company to audit 1MDB’s books, after KPMG and Ernst & Young.

Deloitte quit as 1MDB’s auditor in 2016.

The same year, the firm said its audits of 1MDB’s financial statements could no longer be relied upon after the US filed lawsuits linked to the scandal.

US authorities are seeking to claw back assets allegedly bought in America with funds stolen from 1MDB and believe US$4.5 billion was looted from the fund.

The allegations played a large part in persuading voters to eject Najib’s coalition at historic elections last year after more than six decades in power.

He has since been hit with dozens of charges linked to the scandal, and last month went on trial.