Police have raided the home of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, reportedly in order to search for documents connected to the $3.2bn 1MDB scandal. More than a dozen police cars turned up at Najib’s Kuala Lumpur residence late on Wednesday, shortly after he had returned from evening prayers a local mosque.
Four other locations were raided, including other condominiums in his name, and his prime ministerial office. Commercial crime director Amar Singh Ishar Singh told local media that police were searching for evidence in an ongoing probe.
Najib has been virtually under house arrest since he lost the election last week; police have cordoned off access to his road, and the former prime minister and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been placed on an immigration blacklist to prevent them from fleeing the country.
The raid indicates that Najib’s role in the 1MDB scandal is a key focus of the reopened investigation into the billions of embezzled funds.
Mahathir Mohamad, the newly elected 92-year-old prime minister, has pledged that all those who are found to have committed any wrongdoing as part of 1MDB will be brought to justice.
Najib started the government fund in 2009, but in 2015 it was hit by scandal when it was revealed that over $4bn had gone missing and been spent lavishly across the world. The sum of $681m was allegedly transferred into Najib’s own bank account.
While still in power, Najib was cleared by an investigation which was widely seen as a cover-up. The suspicions were backed up by a complaint recently filed by an anti-corruption chief who worked under Najib.
Najib made no arrests in his 1MDB investigation, and blocked both the US and Switzerland from carrying out their own enquiries. On Wednesday, Mahathir said he would be working with both countries to return the embezzled money to Malaysia.
“The focus on corruption is important, because we need to get back money which is still in Switzerland, the US, Singapore and maybe Luxembourg. For this, we will contact the governments of the countries to recover the money there,” Mahathir said. “The money belongs to Malaysia and it came from 1MDB. We will appeal for the money to be returned to Malaysia.”
The raid came on the day that former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was finally released from jail, where he has been serving a second sentence for sodomy.
Associated Press contributed to this report.