In the latest twist in the long-drawn saga of illicit funds that flowed into and flowed out of Malaysian state fund 1MDB, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister has said the mysterious one billion dollars in Malaysian PM Najib Razak's personal account were a were a genuine donation.
Malaysia's official Bernama news agency said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir confirmed the funds were a donation.
"We are aware of the donation and it is a genuine donation with nothing expected in return. We are also fully aware that the attorney general of Malaysia has thoroughly investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing," the foreign minister said at a summit in Istanbul.
"So, as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed," Jubeir added in a chat with reporters after a meeting with Najib.
In February al-Jubeir had said the money deposited into Najib's personal accounts was not a a political donation, but meant for investment.
That comment had come in the wake of international media reports that $681 million flowed into Najib's accounts from Saudi Arabia and that the funds were used by Najib during the 2013 elections.
BBC had reported, citing credible Saudi sources, that the money was used to help Najib win the election and to stop ultra right wing Islamist political factions from gaining momentum in electoral politics.
Last week, the Malaysian parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released a report on the scandal that plagued the debt-trapped 1 Malaysia Development Berhad.
The PAC, which highlighted weaknesses in 1MDB's capital structure and management, put the blame largely on its former chief executive Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and the board members but did not name Najib.
The opposition, led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed, lambasted the report saying it was merely meant for whitewashing the prime minister.
"1MDB was started by Najib and he is the adviser. Nothing can be done without his (Mr Najib's) agreement, so why punish this man?" Mahathir asked.
The PAC report came handy for Najib as he hung on to tenuous political balance fighting off allegations that as much as $681 million from the troubled state fund was transferred into his own personal accounts.
Almost half a dozen countries are carrying out separate investigations into the irregularities surrounding the 1 Malaysia Development Berhard.
Swiss authorities started a probe in February into suspected violation of Swiss laws in the transactions related to 1MDB later found that as much as $4 billion was stolen from the Malaysian state fund.
Malaysia's Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi cleared Najib of wrongdoing IN January, saying $681m deposited in the prime minister's bank account was entirely legal "personal donation" from the Saudi royal family.
But the move triggered massive protests by the opposition, with Mahathir and allies joining forces to unseat najib.
The latest revelation by the Saudi minister was scoffed at by opposition media in Malaysia.
"So, it seems, this was just another in a long line of staged productions, presumably orchestrated by the usual suspects (with Rosmah Mansor as Chief Producer)," Malaysia Chronicle said in a report.