After corruption reports, Malaysian PM visits Saudi Arabia

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Malaysia's premier thanked King Salman for his support in a speech before meeting with the monarch Wednesday during a visit to Saudi Arabia meant to deepen ties between the two major Muslim countries.

Najib Razak's visit came after Malaysia's attorney general in January decided not to prosecute the prime minister, saying the $681 deposited in his accounts were a "personal donation" from the Saudi royal family. The chief prosecutor also said most of the Saudi donation had been returned.

Razak's critics, however, accuse him of corruption and claim hundreds of millions of dollars channeled into his accounts came from the indebted 1MDB fund, which he founded in 2009.

The fund is mired in $10 billion in debt and has been selling its assets to clear its books. Najib became embroiled in the scandal after documents were leaked last year suggesting that money deposited into his accounts may have come from entities linked to 1MDB.

Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Speaking at an economic forum Tuesday in the Saudi city of Jiddah, Najib expressed his gratitude.

"I would like to personally thank the royal family of Saudi Arabia for all their support over many decades," he said.

"I am proud to say that we are like brothers," he added, referring to Saudi-Malaysia relations.

Malaysian forces are taking part in joint military exercises by a 34-nation, anti-terrorism alliance of Muslim majority countries that are underway in the kingdom.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency gave little details about the king's meeting with Najib, saying only they discussed bilateral relations and ways to strengthen cooperation.


Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia contributed to this report.