Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and tens of millions in political payouts during the 2013 election, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing investigation documents.
The payments were made from one of several private bank accounts owned by Najib and the funds originated from government investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which is under investigation, the WSJ said.
Investigation documents seen by the daily contain bank transfer information that shows millions flowed through Najib's accounts over a five-year period.
Najib has been reeling from allegations of corruption involving 1MDB and the Malaysian opposition has stepped up calls for him to resign.
Investigators in Switzerland, US, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Singapore are probing the Malaysian state investment fund over financial irregularities.
Swiss investigators said in February misappropriations at 1MDB could have amounted to $4 billion.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing and resisted pressure to resign, while the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional defended him. However, the prime minister has faced strident criticism from dissidents from within his party, United Malay National Organisation (Umno).
The WSJ investigation has unearthed details of staggering amounts spent on luxury goods by the prime minister and his wife. The report says as much as $15 million was spent on clothes, jewelry and a car in countries including the US, Malaysia and Italy.
As much as $1 billion was transferred into five of Najib's accounts at Malaysian bank AmBank Bhd. This includes $681 million which was transferred into Najib's personal account from 1MDB.
However, Najib's attorneys have insisted this amount was a personal donation to the prime minister from the Saudi royal family.
Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in January, saying the money was entirely legal "personal donation" from the Saudis and that Najib returned $620 million to them in 2013.
Pressure to resign
However, Saudi authorities later clarified that the funds were not personal donation to the prime minister but meant for investment.
Stepping up pressure on Najib to resign, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad filed a lawsuit earlier this month accusing him of corruption and abuse of power, citing the 1MDB corruption probe and the mysteries millions transferred into Najib's accounts from abroad.
In their latest move, Najib's detractors huddled under the leadership of political patriarch Mahathir Mohamad, have said they plan to submit a petition to the royal figurehead seeking the removal of the tainted prime minister.