July 3, 2018 / 11:42 AM / 4 months ago

TIMELINE-The 1MDB scandal that led to the arrest of former Malaysian PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 (Reuters) - Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested on Tuesday, less than two months after losing an election to Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib, 64, will be charged in court on Wednesday in relation to a probe into how money went missing from troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

It has been a stunning fall for Najib who held on to power for three years despite allegations of massive corruption and misappropriation at 1MDB.

Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing. He told Reuters last month he shouldn't be blamed for the scandal and that he knew nothing about money from the state fund appearing in his personal account.

Here's a timeline of developments at 1MDB:

2009

July

- Three months after taking over as prime minister, Najib launches the 1MDB sovereign fund to invest in energy, real estate and other industries.

2015

January

- 1MDB, with debt burdens rising, misses a loan payment of about $550 million.

March

– Malaysia forms special task force - including officials from central bank, police, anti-grant agency and the attorney general's chambers - to look into 1MDB.

July

- The Wall Street Journal reports nearly $700 million of 1MDB money went into Najib's personal bank account.

August

- Malaysia's anti-graft agency says the money deposited into Najib's account was a donation, not from 1MDB.

- Swiss authorities open criminal proceedings linked to 1MDB, saying the case involves suspected corruption of public foreign officials, dishonest management of public interests and money laundering.

2016

January

- Malaysia's Attorney General clears Najib of any wrongdoing, saying $681 million in Najib's account was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family and that Najib had returned $620 million in a few months.

April

- A Malaysian parliamentary inquiry team slams the board of 1MDB for being irresponsible and urges a probe into its former chief. 1MDB board resigns.

July

- The U.S. Department of Justice files civil lawsuits seeking to seize assets bought with money allegedly stolen from 1MDB, saying that over $3.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund.

- The lawsuits say $681 million from a 2013 bond sale by 1MDB was transferred to the account of "Malaysian Official 1", whom U.S. and Malaysian officials later identify as Najib.

2017

March

- Red Granite, the company behind the 2013 film, "The Wolf of Wall Street", agrees to pay the U.S. government $60 million to settle a civil lawsuit that sought to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

June

- The Justice Department says more than $4.5 billion was siphoned from 1MDB by high-level fund officials and their associates.

August

- U.S. Justice Department says conducting a criminal probe into 1MDB.

December

- The U.S. attorney general describes the 1MDB scandal as "kleptocracy at its worst".

2018

May

- Najib unexpectedly loses election to Mahathir, who immediately reopens probe into 1MDB.

- Authorities bar Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country. The couple's houses are subject to police investigations and Najib gives a statement to anti-graft agency.

June

- Prime Minister Mahathir says embezzlement and bribery with government money are among the charges that Malaysia is looking to bring against Najib. He also says investigators have an "almost perfect case" against the former leader.

- Police say nearly $275 million of assets found at properties linked to Najib, including 12,000 pieces of jewellery, more than 500 handbags, more than 400 watches and nearly $30 million in cash.

- Authorities say bank accounts belonging to Najib's political party frozen as part of 1MDB probe.

July

- Authorities say over 400 bank accounts frozen, including those of 81 individuals and 55 companies believed to have received funds from 1MDB.

- Authorities arrest Najib.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi, Emily Chow; Editing by Nick Macfie

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