DOJ recovers US$100 million civil forfeiture in 1MDB scheme

WASHINGTON, June 27 (Bernama-UPI) — The United States (US) Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday an agreement was reached in the alleged embezzlement of US$4.5 billion from Malaysia’s sovereign investment fund known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB.

The agreement is with Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, members of his family and trust entities Low established. It includes a civil forfeiture of more than US$100 million.

The DOJ said that prior to this agreement, more than US$1.4 billion in assets associated with the scheme was returned to Malaysia, American-based news agency United Press International (UPI) reported. 

“The Low Parties have also agreed to cooperate in the transfer to Malaysia of certain other assets located in Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Singapore that are linked to 1MDB funds,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“Under the agreement, the department will coordinate with foreign partners to facilitate the liquidation and return of these assets to Malaysia.”

The DOJ, citing the civil forfeiture complaints, said, “From 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB were allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates, including Low, through a criminal conspiracy involving international money laundering and bribery.”

Civil forfeiture actions under the agreement include a Paris luxury apartment, as well as art in Switzerland by Andy Warhol and Claude Monet, which Low bought for roughly US$35 million.

Approximately US$67 million in real property and bank accounts cash in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore is also being forfeited.

In addition to the civil forfeiture, DOJ said Low faces criminal charges for “allegedly conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB and for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by allegedly paying bribes to various Malaysian and Emirati officials, and in the District of Columbia for allegedly conspiring to make and conceal foreign and conduit campaign contributions during the United States presidential election in 2012.”