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UAE ambassador to Washington 'linked to multi-billion fraud scandal'

Companies linked to Otaiba allegedly received over 60 million US dollars in funds [Twitter]

Date of publication: 1 July, 2017

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Documents show companies connected to the UAE ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba received $66 million allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The United Arab Emirate's ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba, whose recent leaked emails revealed a systematic campaign of incitement against Qatar, has been linked to a major multi-billion dollar fraud investigation according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Companies linked to Otaiba allegedly received over 60 million US dollars in funds that were originally "misappropriated" from the 1Malaysia Development BhD [1MDB] fund, according to court and investigative documents seen by The Wall Street Journal. 

The report emerged amid ongoing investigations by five countries, including the US, into the major corruption scandal concerning the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the Malaysian state investment fund 1MBD.

The scandal rocked the Malaysian government in 2015 with allegations that hundreds of millions of dollars from the fund were deposited into the personal account of the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, leading to calls for his resignation.

Billions of dollars were stolen from the fund by people closely associated with the prime minister, according to the US Justice Department.

Investigations by government agencies - including those of the US and Singapore - into the 4.5 billion US dollar scandal have since expanded into looking at the role of dozens of individuals, companies and several governments.

Friday's report also said that the purpose behind the transfer of funds allegedly originating from 1MDB to companies linked to the UAE ambassador were not publically disclosed and that Otaibia refused to comment to The Wall Street Journal over the report.

The report also said the UAE ambassador's hacked emails revealed correspondence, including accounts of meetings between Otaiba's Abu Dhabi-based business partner Shaher Awartani and Jho Low, the Malaysian financer alleged to be the central figure in the scandal.

In interviews, Low had previously spoken about a friendship he enjoyed with Otaiba since the early 2000s.

The Wall Street Journal said a spokeswoman for the UAE embassy in Washington declined to address the report, dismissing the leaked emails as part of a campaign against her country.

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