Malaysian cabinet minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan has confirmed speculation that the ‘Malaysian Official 1’, accused of misappropriation of funds by the US justice department in the 1MDB scandal, is Prime Minister Najib Razak, BBC reported. Dahlan did not comment on whether Razak, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, was guilty of the crime.

Razak had inaugurated the state investment fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad in 2009, AFP reported. The US department had filed a case to confiscate assets amounting to over $ 1 billion in misappropriated 1MDB funds. Rumours of a major scheme involving misuse of funds started doing the rounds in 2014.

The agency on Thursday quoted the minister, who issued a message elaborating his statement to BBC and said, “It’s obvious that the so-called ‘Malaysian Official 1’ referred to by the US Justice Department is our Prime Minister.” In August, thousands of protesters participated in an agitation in Kuala Lumpur demanding the arrest of ‘Malaysian Official 1’. The agency reported that Razak has clamped down on media coverage of the scandal and ordered an end to the probe.

The US department lawsuit documents how the official and his associates embezzled funds and has sought to seize assets including real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London, paintings by Monet and Van Gogh, and a Bombardier jet that it claims was bought using the stolen funds.