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Malaysian scandal spreads to US

03 November, 2018, 04:16 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • AFP pic

1Malaysia Development Bhd., better known as 1MDB, is at the heart of a scandal which allegedly saw $4.5 billion misappropriated from the fund.

Goldman Sachs underwrote about US$6.5 billion in bonds issued by 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a sovereign wealth fund set up to help develop the country, according to the USA government.

The department alleges that the Goldman bankers...

Charges were filed in Malaysia in August against Low.

While his lawyers fight to have the charges against him dismissed, Low's whereabouts are unknown.

The DOJ alleged the bond proceeds were transferred to MO1 close relative were later used by the relative's USA motion picture company to assist in the production of the film "The Wolf of Wall Street".

USA prosecutors had painted Low as a bon vivant and a central figure who set up shell companies and arranged the transfers of tens of millions of dollars to pay Malaysian government officials, while Singapore investigators have called him a "key person of interest".

The money was deposited in shell companies beneficially owned and controlled by Low, Leissner, Ng, and other co-conspirators, including a high-level official at the Abu Dhabi entity that guaranteed the Project Magnolia bonds and a close relative of Malaysian Official #1, the depatment said.

The criminal charges are the first to be filed in the USA over one of the biggest financial scandals. "Low simply asks that the public keep an open mind regarding this case until all of the evidence comes to light, which he believes will vindicate him".

James Haggerty, a spokesman for Low, said in an e-mailed statement that Low "maintains his innocence".

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In a speech a year ago in Washington, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions denounced the scandal as "kleptocracy at its worst".

Low has chafed over criticism of his partying and playboy lifestyle and vehemently objected to the recently published book "Billion Dollar Whale", which says it tells the inside story of Low and 1MDB.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up the fund, in which Low played a key role.

"As noted in the indictment today, Mr. Low held no formal position at 1MDB, nor was he ever employed by Goldman Sachs, or the Governments of Malaysia or Abu Dhabi", the statement posted on Low's personal website said.

Najib and his former treasury chief were charged last week with criminal breach of trust involving 6.64 billion ringgit ($1.6 billion), charges that came on top of 32 earlier counts of corruption, breach of trust and money laundering that Najib faces in connection with the 1MDB scandal. A parliamentary inquiry found many irregularities but had no mandate to prosecute.

Since being ousted, Najib has been hit with a barrage of charges linked to the scandal.

Najib and Mohamad Irwan Serigar Abdullah, the former treasury secretary-general, pleaded not guilty to misappropriating government funds between December 2016 and December 2017.

An attorney for Najib, Shafee Abdullah, dismissed the latest charges as "foolish".

Jho Low and Ludacris attend Angel Ball 2014 hosted by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on October 20, 2014 in New York City.

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