Agrees $1 billion 1MDB forfeiture deal with Malaysia's Jho Low

01 Novembre, 2019, 03:00 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Agrees $1 billion 1MDB forfeiture deal with Malaysia's Jho Low

The DoJ also noted that the settlement of "over US$700 million" represented the largest ever recovery executed under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative and the biggest civil forfeiture ever concluded.

The U.S. Justice Department has struck a deal to recoup $1 billion (£773.10 million) in funds allegedly looted from a Malaysian state investment fund by fugitive financier Jho Low, in a record capture for a U.S. anti-corruption probe. The Justice Department says the deal requires that none of that money will go to Low or his family.

The assets subject to the settlement agreement include high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London, a luxury boutique hotel in Beverly Hills and tens of millions of dollars in business investments that Jho Low allegedly made with funds traceable to misappropriated 1MDB monies.

"The message in this case is simple: the United States is not a safe haven for pilfered funds", Hanna said in a statement.

DoJ said the assets were located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

But billions of dollars went missing. That's in addition to $260 million of assets seized earlier, including a super-yacht, the department said.

Low, a flamboyant, jet-setting playboy known for partying with Hollywood A-listers, was a former unofficial adviser to 1Malaysia Development Berhad - a fund established with the ostensible aim of boosting Malaysia's economy.

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US authorities say about $4.5 billion was siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), founded in 2009 by then- Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak.

The 1MDB scheme came to light when the Sarawak Report, a UK-based site run by a former BBC journalist, published a series of what it claimed were internal emails between 1MDB and Saudi energy company PetroSaudi.

Malaysian police past year filed charges and issued arrest warrants for Low and several of his associates, whose whereabouts are unknown. The appreciation in the value of those stakes is likely to represent the largest chunk of the money to be recovered by the USA government. He has consistently denied wrongdoing. His trial in Malaysia is ongoing, and he has pleaded not guilty.

That focused the attention of US, UK and France prosecutors on Low, while regulators looked to the involvement of Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sach's south-east Asia chairman, Tim Leissner. But even after assets are seized, the proceeds from them can end up in legal limbo until a court awards judgment in favor of the USA or, as in this case, reaches a settlement.

In addition to charges that he masterminded the 1MDB scheme, Low also faces faces in the Eastern District of NY for conspiring to launder billions of embezzled dollars and paying bribes to officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

Career prosecutors in the U.S. recommended that any settlement with Goldman Sachs include a guilty plea to a criminal charge by the parent entity of the bank, the Financial Times reported earlier this year.

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