The brother of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and the chairperson of CIMB Group Holdings, Nazir Razak, said early on Friday (Apr 1) that he wishes he did not help distribute nearly US$7 million from his brother ahead of the 2013 general elections, which he had assumed "came from legit political funding".
In an Instagram post, Mr Nazir said he understood the furore and "with hindsight wish I didn't. In run up to GE13, I was asked by my brother/party president to urgently help pass on cash to party machinery".
"I assumed and believed, in good faith, that the funds came from legit political funding. Entire amount was distributed, not a sen retained by me," Mr Nazir said.
Mr Nazir earlier told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that the money was disbursed by CIMB bank staff to ruling-party politicians according to the instructions of party leaders.
He said he believed the money originated "with donations he had helped raise from Malaysian corporations and individuals for the elections", WSJ wrote. It is unclear if the "he" refers to Mr Nazir or Mr Najib.
“I had no knowledge whatsoever that these funds may have originated from any other source(s),” Mr Nazir said in a statement quoted by WSJ.
“The entire amount was paid out in cash to various recipients according to the instructions of the party president and the account was closed with a zero balance.”
Mr Najib has been at the centre of controversy after reports came to light of nearly US$700 million in his personal bank accounts ahead of the 2013 general elections.
The sum has since been described as political donations from the Saudi royal family and Mr Najib has not been found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing.
The Prime Minister has also maintained his innocence, insisting no money was used for personal gain.
Since then, however, reports have alleged more deposits were made into five personal accounts between 2011 and 2015, totalling more than US$1 billion.