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Riyadh says $681m given to Malaysia PM was 'genuine donation'

Gulf state's foreign minister says nothing expected in return from Najib Razak, who has been cleared of corruption in his own country
Jubeir said that as far as Saudi Arbia was concerned, 'the matter is closed' (AFP)

Saudi Arabia has said a $681m transfer to the personal bank account of Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, was a "genuine donation with nothing expected in return".

Najib was cleared of corruption charges in January after the Malaysian attorney general said the cash was a gift from the Saudi royal family.

On Thursday, the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said: “We are fully aware that the attorney general of Malaysia has thoroughly investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing

“It is a genuine donation with nothing expected in return. So, as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed."

Jubeir's comments came after a Saudi-Malaysia meeting at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul.

Razak has been cleared of all allegations relating to the donation (AFP)

Tengku Sarifuddin, Najib's press secretary, said on Friday: "This confirms what the prime minister maintained all along, and what multiple lawful authorities concluded after exhaustive investigations."

Najib originally faced claims that the funds found in his personal bank account originated from debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The Malaysian government said it was Saudi financial backing for Najib's promotion of "moderate Islam".

The attorney general's investigation cleared him of all wrongdoing.

Malaysia is also dealing with allegations that billions of dollars were taken from 1MDB.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Najib, is under investigation in at least five countries for alleged corruption and mismanagement.

Last week, a Malaysian parliamentary inquiry slammed the board of 1MDB for being irresponsible and urged a probe into its former chief, but stopped short of implicating the prime minister.