According to the newspaper, Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try and get the United States and other countries to drop probes of allegations that allies of then Prime Minister Najib Razak and his allies.
Malaysia in return offered stakes in railway and pipeline projects as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese government information office did not respond to requests for comment, according to the WSJ—which also stated that China’s Foreign Ministry has earlier denied that money in the programme which was used to bail out the fund.
1MDB is at the centre of a global scandal involving claims of embezzlement and money laundering, with jurisdictions from the US, Malaysia and Singapore probing cases related to the fund.
Najib has been charged with dozens of counts of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving 1MDB-related monies—and also stands accused of altering the report on a government audit into the fund to protect himself from criminal, civil or regulatory action. He has denied wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
China also offered to bug the homes and offices of Wall Street Journal reporters in Hong Kong who were investigating 1MDB to learn who exactly was leaking information to them, according to the newspaper.
It could not be determined whether China provided any such information, the newspaper concluded.