$4 billion stolen from Malaysian state fund, say Swiss investigators

A portion of the cash was transferred into Swiss accounts held by former Malaysian officials.

Swiss prosecutors have asked the help of Malaysian authorities in investigating the theft of $4 billion from a Malaysian state fund.

The Swiss authorities are probing suspected violation of Swiss laws in the case involving the misappropriation of funds belonging to state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

According to Swiss officials, the stolen money was meant for economic and social development projects in Malaysia.

Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber said he had asked Malaysia for help in pursuing possible violations of Swiss laws related to bribery of foreign officials, misconduct in public office, money laundering and criminal mismanagement related to 1MDB, Reuters reported.

The Swiss attorney general's office said in a statement a small portion of the cash was transferred into Swiss accounts held by former Malaysian officials as well as current and former officials from the United Arab Emirates, AFP reported.

"To date, however, the Malaysian companies concerned have made no comment on the losses they are believed to have incurred," prosecutors added.

"The object of the request for mutual assistance is therefore to advise the companies and the Malaysian government of the results of the Swiss criminal proceedings, with the aim of finding out whether losses on this scale have been sustained."

Najib cleared

The development comes at a time when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is reeling from allegations that he diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from the state owned company into his personal account in the run up to the 2013 election.

On Tuesday, Malaysia's Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi cleared Najib of any wrongdoing, saying the money deposited in the prime minister's bank account was entirely legal "personal donation" from the Saudi royal family.

The AG also said the prime minister returned the vast chunk of the money to the Saudi royals in the same year.