(Bloomberg) -- A City of London office building linked to the family of a former Malaysian politician has been withdrawn from sale, according to people with knowledge of the process. 

The building at 1 Crown Court on Cheapside, about 400 meters from St Paul’s Cathedral, had been put up for sale for £28.6 million ($36 million) last year, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News. An outline deal was agreed with an investor earlier this year but the talks collapsed and the property has since been withdrawn from sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the process was private. 

UK Land Registry filings show the building is owned by a British Virgin Islands registered company called Straits Properties Limited. That company is ultimately owned by a trust in which the wife of former Malaysian finance minister Daim Zainuddin is a beneficiary, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reported in January. 

A representative for the family declined to comment.  

Malaysia’s anti-graft agency seized a skyscraper owned by Daim’s family in Kuala Lumpur in December, prompting Daim to say it was a “political witch hunt.” Daim, who served as finance minister for two terms, was one of Mahathir Mohamad’s closest confidantes during Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister’s almost 24 years in office. 

Mahathir was the mentor of current premier Anwar Ibrahim before he famously sacked him from government in 1998. Anwar was later sent to prison on charges of corruption and sodomy.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission responded to Daim’s comments by saying it opened an investigation into him in February 2023 based on information revealed in the Pandora Papers, a trove of 11.9 million leaked documents on offshore entities that was published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2021.

In January, Daim and his wife, Nai’mah Abdul Khalid, were charged with allegedly failing to declare assets under Malaysia’s anti-corruption law. They have pleaded not guilty.

Read more: Mahathir’s Former Adviser Charged in Malaysian Graft Probe

Straits Properties bought the office building in 2014 for £31.5 million, land registry filings show. Daim served as Malaysia’s minister of finance from 1984 to 1991, prior to which he had a career spanning banking, real estate development and law. 

London real estate has long been a magnet for the global wealthy looking for a place to park their cash. The UK has sought to clean up its reputation as a safety deposit box for investors with few real checks on their sources of wealth by introducing measures such as a register of overseas owners of UK property. But the framework has various loopholes and has yet to lead to a meaningful increase in enforcement actions.

--With assistance from Netty Ismail, Niluksi Koswanage and Tom Redmond.

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