The Edge pulls back after Zahid’s threat

Business weekly says it won’t rely on leaked emails for reports on 1MDB’s business deals


Business weekly The Edge, facing a threat of government action against it, has announced it would no longer use leaked emails regarding the troubled government company 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

In a statement today, it said: “We will defer to the home minister and will not refer to the emails again in any of our reports until the air is cleared about them”, while welcoming any investigation into the emails and offering assistance to officials who wished to verify their authenticity.

The business weekly, as well as the Sarawak Report blog, has carried extensive coverage of the dubious financial transactions and investments of 1MDB, which is reported to have debts of RM42 billion.

Reports in The Edge and Sarawak Report also extensively quoted company emails.

Earlier this week, home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi threatened action againt The Edge under press licensing laws for publishing false news.

He contended that the leaked emails had been tampered with, to put 1MDB in a bad light.

The leaked emails concerned correspondence between 1MDB’s prospective joint venture partner PetroSaudi, and had revealed questionable fund transfers to a company purportedly controlled by Malaysian businessman Jho Low, who is known to be close to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s family.

The Edge noted that the word of an unnamed security expert had been relied upon for the claim that the emails had been tampered with.

A little-known company hired by PetroSaudi to investigate the leak had been quoted by the New Straits Times to say that emails published by Sarawak Report were tampered.

The Edge said it had published reports that relied on some emails about dealings between 1MDB and PetroSaudi dating back to 2009 and 2011.

“Very little was known then and those emails and other documents helped us piece together the chain of events surrounding 1MDB’s US$1.83 billion (RM6.8 billion) deals with PetroSaudi,” the Edge said.

It noted that during the past five months no one had challenged the authenticity of the emails it had quoted.