1MDB probe finds $15M in luxury spending by Malaysia PM Najib Razak: WSJ

Malaysia PM Najib Razak spent $15M on luxuries

Malaysia's embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak spent as much as $15 million on luxury items, according to bank-transfer information from a Malaysian investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The money—linked to Najib's private bank accounts that global investigators believe received millions of dollars diverted from a troubled state-investment fund—was spent on clothes, jewelry and a car, according to the bank-transfer information, involving stores in the U.S., Malaysia, Italy and elsewhere, the WSJ reported.

In July of last year, the WSJ reported allegations that nearly $700 million had flowed from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, to Najib's personal bank account in 2013.

Najib has repeatedly denied wrong-doing and, under pressure from the WSJ report, said at the time the funds were a private donation from a Middle Eastern country he declined to name. He has denied benefiting personally from any of the funds.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on April 3, 2014 in Perth, Australia
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In January, Malaysia's Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali told an unscheduled press conference that Saudi Arabia's royal family gave Najib a $681 million gift that was subsequently partially returned.

Apandi said at the same press conference that no criminal offense had been committed.

The WSJ report Thursday said that the latest Malaysian investigation documents contradict the attorney general's statement, showing that transfers made from a person and the finance ministry in Saudi Arabia were made much earlier, in 2011 and 2012, but they were only for a total of around $200 million.

Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia.
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Najib and a lawyer for Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, declined to comment, the WSJ report said.

Najib's office and 1MDB didn't immediately return an emailed requests for comment from CNBC. In a press statement Thursday, 1MDB said it has "consistently maintained that it has not paid any funds to the personal accounts of the prime minister," adding that the WSJ is repeating these allegations without providing concrete evidence.

The report from The Wall Street Journal can be seen here

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—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1