Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he did not disclose the full details of the alleged RM2.6 billion issue as he was concerned about making public the act of ‘buying’ members of parliament within the Malaysian democratic system. Pix by Asyraf Hamzah

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he did not disclose the full details of the alleged RM2.6 billion issue as he was concerned about making public the act of ‘buying’ members of parliament within the Malaysian democratic system.

In a Facebook posting on Thursday, Najib said he also did not disclose evidence related to the funds due to a request by the late Saudi King, King Abdullah Abdul Aziz as-Saud to keep the matter confidential.

"The RM2.6 billion actually refers to the US$681 million I received in my personal accounts at the end of March 2013, about a month before GE13 on May 5, 2013.

"As mentioned several times before, I was entrusted by the party to source for funds and manage the party's money. Like most other people, I have several personal accounts in various banks and the account which received the said funds was not for personal use but for use of political activities," he said.

Najib said the funds, totaling US$681 million in two transactions, each on March 21 and March 25, 2013, around a month before the 13th general election, were however returned after the ‘916 incident’ did not happen in Malaysia.

The ‘916 incident’ refers to an episode on Sept 16, 2008 where Pakatan had attempted to get Barisan Nasional parliamentarians to cross over to the opposition to enable the BN government following GE12 to be toppled.

“In July, after Ambank took some time to convert the ringgit in the account to US dollars, all the funds were returned to the source, which was Tanore (Finance Corporation).

“Because the exchange rate had already experienced a 10 per cent depreciation from March to August, so only

US$620 was returned compared to the US$681 received.

“In summary, I did not keep this RM2.6 billion. In fact, if someone wanted to steal, it would not make sense for the person to place it in an account under his name. It was not 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds, which everyone knows was a loan.

“Money that is borrowed must be returned and if we want to steal from there, there will be problems when the time comes to settle the debt,” he said.

Najib said the then-opposition knew of this but refused to acknowledge that the RM2.6 billion was not kept in his own pocket to buy “rings or handbags.”

He said the perception nevertheless prevailed that he had robbed billions, which he said saw many being duped by the slander which was then used as an election campaign tool.

“Today, I am showing you proof on how all the RM2.6 billion was returned four months after it was received. Why this money existed was because of the Arab Spring, which ended on December 2012.

“However, in early 2013, I once again asked the Saudi king for contingency funds and the sultan consented.

“I decided not to ask from businessmen and local tycoons as done by the fourth prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) as they would surely ask for high-value projects in return.

“I do not agree with the practice of cronyism,” he said.

Elaborating on the source of the funds, Najib said Prince Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who represented King Abdullah, had stated that the funds would be channeled through the royalty’s account or via another source, including Tanore Finance Corporation.

“The US Department of Justice and Wall Street Journal claim that the money channeled by Tanore indirectly and in layers was from 1MDB.

“Prince Abdulaziz Al-Saud, whom all the while represented King Abdullah, channeled the money to me, including in 2011 and 2012 via the accounts of the Saudi Finance Ministry and that of Prince Faisal Turkey Al Saud.

“That is why at the time, there was no reason for me or the bank to question in detail on the source of the funds, especially since it was accompanied by letters from the representative of the late King Abdullah.”

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