July 3, 2015 / 5:09 PM / 4 years ago

Malaysia's prime minister denies embezzling 1MDB funds

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives to break fast at Saujana Menteri Besar in Malaysia's southern state of Johor July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday denied taking money from state fund 1MDB or any other entity for personal gain, after a media report said investigators traced nearly $700 million to bank accounts that were allegedly in his name.

Najib blamed former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad of being behind the latest corruption allegations, which he described as a lie.

Mahathir’s media spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

“Let me be very clear: I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents – whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed,” Najib wrote on his Facebook page and on Twitter.

He said he believed that Mahathir was working with “foreign nationals” to promulgate “this latest lie”.

Najib said the allegations began when he refused to implement Mahathir’s personal demands.

A Wall Street Journal report said Malaysian investigators found close to $700 million was wired from banks, government agencies and companies linked to 1MDB into what they believe were personal accounts of Najib.

The PM’s office said earlier in the day that the allegations were part of a “continuation of political sabotage”.

The Wall Street Journal’s report, if true, would be the first time the prime minister has been directly linked to long-standing allegations of corruption surrounding the fund.

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Louise Ireland

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