Press Statement

Banking confidentiality does not apply to criminal investigations 

14 July 2015

Lawyers for Liberty is appalled that the authorities seem more concerned in investigating those responsible for leaking information relating to the 1MDB scandal rather than the extremely serious exposé implicating Prime Minister Najib Razak in connection with RM2.6 billion which was allegedly deposited in his personal accounts.


While banking confidentiality should be maintained in a normal course of events, it is clearly in the public’s interest to inquire into the loss and probable embezzlement or mismanagement of millions or even billions of public funds.


It should be noted that such whistleblowing to the press, exposing high level government-linked corrupt practices and wrongdoings is a clear symptom of distrust that the authorities would be able to do the right thing, that they would play down rather than commencing thorough and independent investigations.


It is misleading and disingenuous to assert banking confidentiality in such a case as clearly, such privilege does not apply to criminal investigations. How else would corruption, criminal breach of trust, money laundering or tax evasion be exposed if not through banking details? Such investigations unfortunately lend further credence that law enforcement authorities remain highly politicised and selective as the disclosure had exposed serious criminal offences which should override any confidentiality provisions.


Investigating the whistleblowers is clearly misconceived, a case of shooting the messenger bearing bad news. We call on the authorities to cease investigations into the whistleblowers, and more importantly, to bring to justice the perpetrators and account for the massive 1MDB scandal.


Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty

For further information:
Off: 03-7960 5688
Mobile: 017-228 1973
E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @lawyers4liberty