A corruption scandal that is engulfing Malaysia's government and prime minister has pulled in a high-profile Abu Dhabi investment fund over more than a billion dollars that appears to have vanished.
The Gulf emirate's International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) is trying to get to the bottom of an apparent $1.4 billion mismatch in its dealings with 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Ipic is seeking clarification about the fate of the money, which 1MDB said it paid out but was never recorded as received in Ipic's own financial statements, people familiar with the matter say.
Ipic's probe is part of a wider Abu Dhabi audit of the institution's long entanglement with 1MDB, which has come under growing scrutiny since corruption allegations engulfed both the Malaysian fund and Najib Razak, the country's embattled prime minister.
Two of the main Ipic officials responsible for the Malaysian relationship have left their posts without explanation — the second of them just last month. There is no evidence the $1.4 billion is suspected as having been taken by either man or any Malaysia party. Both Mr Najib and 1MDB have denied any wrongdoing.
The focus on the Ipic-1MDB links comes amid separate investigations in Malaysia into mysterious payments totalling more than $675 million made in March 2013 to a bank account in Mr Najib's name. Malaysia's anti-corruption commission said last month that the funds came from a Middle Eastern donor, which it did not name. Mr Najib has said the payments were not linked to 1MDB and were not for his personal gain.
The 1MDB affair has rocked the once-predictable politics of southeast Asia's third-largest economy, intensifying efforts by Mr Najib's opponents to force him to step down over his stewardship of the fund, whose advisory board he chairs.