Malaysian police detain whistleblower who exposed state corruption

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A Malaysian court approved the detention of a whistleblower who provided evidence of alleged corruption in a state-owned development fund involving Prime Minister Najib Razak, a senior police official said Sunday.

Khairuddin Abu Hassan, a former member of the ruling party, was arrested Friday for “acts undermining parliamentary democracy,” according to criminal investigation division chief Mohmad Salleh.

Khairuddin on August 20 provided evidence to Swiss prosecutors of alleged corruption in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, and urged them to investigate its activities involving Swiss and other international banks.

Khairuddin also gave reports Singapore, France and Hong Kong.

Swiss prosecutors began criminal proceedings against two of the fund’s executives last month on suspicion of corruption, misconduct in public office and money laundering. The case was also brought against “persons unknown,” to allow the inclusion of future suspects.

The Malaysian fund has been in the spotlight since a Wall Street Journal report in July suggested that it was the source of 2.6 billion ringgit (673 million dollars) in Najib’s accounts.

Najib denied the corruption allegations, and the Anti-Corruption Agency Commission – supervised by his office – said the money came from unnamed donors from the Middle East.

Khairuddin planned to travel to New York and London with his lawyer on Friday when police intercepted him at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The court ordered his detention for six days while his case is under investigation, police said.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted.

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