The History of 1MDB

Soon after it started in 2009, 1MDB drew controversy. Within months, board members were complaining about the fund’s dealings. Later, 1MDB built up a multibillion dollar debt load. Follow the history of 1MDB from its first deal to the exposure of a financial scandal and follow links to stories about the events.

Select highlighted text to watch a related video and the links for past coverage.
May 2009

Terengganu Investment Authority, investment fund started by a Malaysian state, sells more than $1.2 billion worth of bonds backed by a federal guarantee.
September 2009

Prime Minister Najib Razak signs order to rename the fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. Fund invests $1 billion in joint venture with a Saudi Arabian company called PetroSaudi to develop energy projects.
October 2009

1MDB board members express concern that only $300 million was transferred directly to PetroSaudi’s account while the remaining $700 million was sent to a different account not part of the joint venture, according to minutes of 1MDB board meetings included in a Malaysia auditor general’s report. PetroSaudi and 1MDB say all transactions were proper.Related article »
March 2010 –
October 2011

1MDB converts equity stake in the joint venture to loans, books $200 million profit. Invests another $800 million in the form of loans to PetroSaudi, according to the auditor general report.
September 2010

1MDB auditor Ernst & Young fired after it questions profits earned at PetroSaudi, according to 1MDB board minutes. E&Y declined to comment.
September 2012

1MDB sells stake in PetroSaudi joint venture for $2.32 billion, puts proceeds into a unit of 1MDB called Brazen Sky Ltd. that invests in a Cayman Islands fund. Related article »
May and October 2012

Goldman Sachs sells two bonds worth $1.75 billion each for 1MDB to fund power plant purchases. Abu Dhabi’s IPIC guarantees the bonds. Related article »
May/June 2012

1MDB financial statements show fund made collateral payment of $1.4 billion to IPIC for its bond guarantee. IPIC financials show no record of the payments. 1MDB says payment was made. Two people familiar with the matter said IPIC never received the money. Related article »
October 2012

1MDB buys majority of a power generation business from Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group for $740 million, or 2.3 billion ringgit. Genting financial statements show 1.9 billion ringgit gain on the sale. 1MDB later writes down value of power plants to 500 million ringgit. Related article »
January 2013

Mr. Najib approaches Goldman Sachs executives at World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland about raising money for a new joint venture real estate project with an Abu Dhabi investment fund, people familiar with the matter said. Related article »
March 19, 2013

Goldman underwrites $3 billion in bonds for 1MDB, earning nearly $300 million in fees for taking on risk to complete the deal quickly.
March 21 and
25, 2013

Malaysian investigators say $681 million transferred to Mr. Najib’s alleged bank accounts.Source of funds is unknown and unclear where money went afterward. Mr. Najib denies wrongdoing and says he took no money for personal use.

Related article »
1Q 2013

Genting donates 31 million ringgit to Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia Foundation, chaired by Mr. Najib. Genting declined to comment. Related article »
April 2013

Mr. Najib announces 2 million ringgit donation to two schools from Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia Foundation in election battleground of Penang. Related article »
May 2013

In Malaysian national elections, Mr. Najib's party loses popular vote but retains majority in parliament.
July 2, 2015

The Wall Street Journal reports that Malaysian investigators traced nearly $700 million into Mr. Najib's alleged accounts via banks, companies and agencies linked to 1MDB. Investigators said the money came from an unidentified donor in the Middle East. Mr. Najib denies wrongdoing or taking the money for personal gain. Related article »
July 8, 2015

Malaysia government investigators raid offices of 1MDB.
August 2015

Estimated 25,000 people protest against Mr. Najib and 1MDB in Kuala Lumpur. Related article »
September 2015

Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. authorities are looking into Mr. Najib’s assets. Mr. Najib has denied wrongdoing and says he took no money for personal use. Related article »
October 2015

Malaysia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Mr. Najib, though motion has little chance of being approved. Related article »
November 2015

In a Malaysian newspaper interview, Mr. Najib acknowledges concerns over governance at 1MDB and vows that wrongdoers will be brought to justice. Related article »
December 2015

Mr. Najib came under fire during a party conference but defended his actions saying the money that flowed into his bank account was a donation. Related article »
January 2016

Swiss prosecutors probing 1MDB say $4 billion could have been misappropriated. Related article »
January 2016

Malaysia's attorney general says $681 million that went into Mr. Najib's account was a legal donation from Saudi Arabia's royal family. A Saudi official says the nation's finance and foreign ministries are unaware of such a donation. Related article »
February 2016

Tim Leissner, a senior banker with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. who won 1MDB business for the Wall Street firm, leaves the bank.

 Related article »