KUALA LUMPUR (July 3): 1Malaysia Development Bhd. denied it had funnelled funds into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts, rejecting reports saying investigators believed they had found such a money trail.

Documents showed about US$700 million ($945 million) of funds may have moved through government agencies, banks and companies linked to state investment company 1MDB before apparently appearing in Najib’s accounts, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing documents from a government probe. The Prime Minister’s Office told Bloomberg News it will respond to the report on Friday.

“1MDB wishes to make clear that the company has never provided any funds to the Prime Minister,” it said in an e- mailed statement. “To suggest otherwise, as some media outlets have done, is highly irresponsible and a deliberate attempt to undermine the company.”

Investor confidence in Malaysia has been battered by growing scrutiny on Najib’s management of debt-ridden 1MDB, whose advisory board he chairs. In a period of less than five years since it was set up, the company accumulated debt of 41.9 billion ringgit ($15 billion). Najib has resisted calls from former premier Mahathir Mohamad to step down as the country’s leader over the debacle.

The government ordered the Auditor-General to verify 1MDB’s accounts in March and Najib asked investigators to expedite the process in May. The Auditor-General said Thursday it has completed an interim report and will submit it on July 9 to a parliamentary committee that is also probing 1MDB. It declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report on Friday.

Political Opponents
Malaysia’s central bank said last month it had started a formal inquiry into 1MDB to examine “any contravention of the central bank’s rules and legislation.” The central bank declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report Friday.

The Prime Minister’s Office denied Najib took any funds for personal use and said his political opponents are trying to smear him, the Wall Street Journal said. The investigation didn’t provide details on what happened to the money in what may be Najib’s accounts, while the original source of the funds was unclear, the newspaper said.

1MDB said recent revelations have raised concerns about the veracity of a number of “leaked” documents which some media outlets “have used to mislead the public and justify spurious allegations against the company and the government,” according to its statement Friday.