April 15, 2016 / 10:47 AM / 2 years ago

Saudi minister says donation to Malaysia's Najib was genuine: state media

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said funds wired into Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank account were a “genuine” donation originating from Saudi Arabia, Malaysian state media reported on Friday.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir delivers a statement after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Najib, who faced graft allegations following reports that a $681-million deposit in his account originated from troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), has maintained the funds were a donation, and did not come from 1MDB.

“We are aware of the donation, and it is a genuine donation with nothing expected in return,” the Bernama news agency quoted Al-Jubeir as saying at a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul.

“We are also fully aware that the attorney-general of Malaysia has thoroughly investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing. So, as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed.”

Al-Jubeir, who was speaking to Malaysian reporters after a meeting with Najib, did not specify the amount, timing or source of the donation.

Al-Jubeir’s comments showed the allegations against Najib were unfounded, the prime minister’s spokesman, Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad, said in a statement.

“This confirms what the prime minister maintained all along, and what multiple lawful authorities concluded after exhaustive investigations: the funds were a donation from Saudi Arabia,” he said.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Najib, is under investigation in at least five countries for alleged graft and mismanagement.

Last week, a Malaysian parliamentary inquiry slammed the board of 1MDB for being irresponsible and urged a probe into its former chief, but stopped short of implicating the prime minister.

In January, Malaysia’s attorney-general cleared Najib of any wrongdoing or corruption in relation to the funds, saying they were a gift from the Saudi royal family.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Clarence Fernandez

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