File photo of Najib Razak. Photograph:( Reuters )
Najib, who is now facing 38 charges related to corruption, had launched the 1MDB sovereign fund just three months after taking office as Prime Minister in 2009.
Najib acknowledged in an interview with Al Jazeera's 101 East. He added that he was unaware of the laundering of millions of dollars through offshore bank accounts around the world while he was the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Najib, who is now facing 38 charges related to corruption, had launched the 1MDB sovereign fund just three months after taking office as Prime Minister in 2009. The initiative aimed to invest in energy, real estate, and other industries.
There are currently six ongoing investigations around the world for corruption related to 1MDB, according to Mary Ann Jolley, who conducted the interview posted on Saturday.
According to the Strait Times, probes into the alleged scandal are being conducted in countries like the United States, Singapore, Switzerland and Malaysia, and others.
Najib further distanced himself from any wrongdoings related to the fund, while stating that his "conscience is clear" during the interview. "I would not receive a single cent from sources connected with 1MDB because if it's 1MDB I would know right away it would not be the right thing to do," he said.
Strait Times reported that the former Prime Minister walked out of the interview, owing to questions put forth by Jolley pertaining to Jho Low, a Malaysian financer with links to Najib, and Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian national, who was murdered in 2006.
"We are supposed to talk about the economy. You are going too much about this. I do not want to talk too much about it," Najib said.
He also accused the news broadcaster that they "weren't being fair" to him.
Najib further denied knowing the source of the USD 681 million that he has alleged was a gift from a Saudi royal. He also stated that his wife did not accept the USD 27 million pink diamond pendant which he said was a gift from Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.
The United States' Department of Justice had reported that around USD 4.5 billion was embezzled from the 1MDB funds by high-ranking Malaysian officials.