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1MDB Scandal: Financial Fraud that Shocked Malaysia

Learn about the context of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, a major financial scandal in Malaysia from 2009 to 2018.

Introduction to the 1MDB Scandal

The 1MDB scandal, also known as the “1Malaysia Development Berhad” scandal, was a major financial scandal that occurred in Malaysia from 2009 to 2018. It involved the misappropriation of billions of dollars from a state-owned development company, 1MDB, by high-level officials, including former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

What is 1MDB and How Did the Financial Scandal Come to Light?

1MDB was a state-owned development company that was established in 2009 by the Malaysian government with the goal of promoting economic development in the country. The company received funding from a variety of sources, including government grants, loans, and the sale of bonds.However, in 2015, the Wall Street Journal published an investigative report alleging that over $700 million had been transferred from 1MDB to accounts belonging to Najib Razak. Further investigation revealed that billions of dollars had been misused from the development company, with the money being used to fund lavish lifestyles, political campaigns, and investments in businesses and real estate around the world.

The Impact of the Scandal

The 1MDB scandal caused widespread outrage in Malaysia and led to calls for Najib’s resignation. In 2018, Najib was arrested and charged with corruption in connection with the 1MDB scandal. He was later found guilty and sentenced to prison. The 1MDB financial scandal had significant consequences for Malaysia, including damage to its reputation and economy. It also led to the downfall of Najib’s political party and the election of a new government in 2018. The scandal has been described as one of the largest financial scandals in history, with billions of dollars of embezzled funds being traced to accounts in countries around the world.

Ongoing Investigation

The investigation into the 1MDB scandal continues, with authorities in several countries working to trace the misappropriated funds and bring those responsible to justice. The financial scandal serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of corruption and the importance of transparency and accountability in government and business.


I hope this gives you a good overview of the 1MDB scandal and sets the stage for further exploration in the series.
Philip Meagher
2 min read

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