Anxious to propel the Malaysian economy out of the middle income trap, it was one of Najib's first decisions as prime minister to launch 1MDB, a public investment fund charged with promote Malaysia's development by investing in green energy and tourism. .
Thanks to its links with investors in the Middle East and major banks such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, the state fund has raised billions of dollars for projects and joint ventures. But the debts accumulated and became unmanageable, forcing the Malaysian government to start secretly paying off the debts of the 1MDB.
This year marked the beginning of a closer look at 1MDB transactions. Reports revealed that Mr. Najib had received $ 681 million transfers to his personal bank account, which he said came from a Saudi government eager to strengthen a moderate Muslim country in an era of extremism Islamic. According to the DoJ, this was one of many "overlay" transactions in which money had been returned around bank accounts to blur its origin: 1MDB.
Following the transfer of $ 681 million, the authorities, including Swiss and Singaporean investigators, as well as the DoJ opened an international investigation into 1MDB to map the cash flow that would have been siphoned off by the public fund. In 2017, the DoJ released a comprehensive document explaining how misappropriated 1MDB money had been transferred worldwide before being used to buy luxury real estate in the United States, works precious art and bespoke jewelry.