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1MDB scandal: Malaysian NGOs call on Switzerland to restitute US$104 m

1MDB scandal: Malaysian NGOs call on Switzerland to restitute US$104 m

According to the Swiss finance minister, Ueli Maurer, confiscated 1MDB bank profits have gone to the Swiss treasury

(KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA) A coalition of over 100 Malaysian civil society organizations led by the Kuala-Lumpur-based Centre to Combat Cronyism and Corruption (C4) and electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 is calling on the Swiss government to return 104 million Swiss franks (US$ 104 m) to Malaysia. The sum has been confiscated since May 2016 by Switzerlands’s bank regulator, FINMA, from three Swiss banks involved in the laundering of assets embezzled from Malaysia’s state fund, 1 MDB.

The biggest amount, CHF 94 million, was confiscated from BSI, a bank that has since been closed down after losing its banking licence. CHF 6.5 million were confiscated from Coutts and another CHF 2.5 million from Abu-Dhabi-controlled Falcon Private Bank. The banks’ appeal against the confiscations is still pending with the Swiss administrative court.

„Switzerland has a moral obligation to return this money which rightfully belongs to the Malaysian people“, said Cynthia Gabriel, Executive Director of C4, at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today. Maria Chin Abdullah, chairperson of Bersih 2.0 suggested that a similar model could be used as in the case of Kazakhstan, where a charitable foundation was set up specifically for the purpose of asset recovery.

In a letter to the Swiss Minister of Finance, Ueli Maurer, and the CEO of FINMA, Mark Branson, the Malaysian NGO coalition requests a political solution to the benefit of the Malaysian people who have suffered enormous losses due to the corruption of the current government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak. The Bruno Manser Funds endorses the Malaysian NGO coalitions’ demands.

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by moxi