Tuesday, November 12

Malaysia recovers US$322 mln of 1MDB assets – AG

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Tommy Thomas – Bernama file photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has recovered US$322 million (about RM1.3 billion) worth of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) assets since investigations into the state-owned sovereign wealth fund effectively began after the 14th General Election in May last year, it was stated today.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, in a statement, said a separate sum of SG$50 million (about RM152 million) of funds traceable to 1MDB have been ordered by the Singapore Courts to be repatriated.

“SG$15 million was credited into (the) 1MDB asset recovery account between September last year and March this year. The balance of SG$35 million will be credited shortly.

“The Government of Malaysia is pleased to announce that the United States of America (US) has returned, and will be returning substantial monies to Malaysia, representing the first instalment of funds recovered from asset seizures related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative of the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It may be recalled that the DOJ recently announced that out of the US$4.5 billion wrongfully diverted from 1MDB, the value of assets that the DOJ was seeking to forfeit through its numerous civil forfeiture complaints filed from 2016 to 2019 was estimated at US$1.7 billion,” he said.

“These assets include the luxury superyacht, Equanimity, which was judicially sold by the Malaysian Admiralty Court last month for US$126 million.

“The first tranche of returned funds of US$57,036,688.68 was credited into the 1MDB asset recovery account, a segregated trust account, opened specifically for this purpose.

“This sum was forfeited from Red Granite Pictures, a US-based film production company linked to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his step-son Riza Aziz and arose from a US$60 million-settlement recorded before the Court of California,” his statement read.

Thomas said a deduction of some US$3 million was made to reimburse costs incurred by the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in investigating, seizing, litigating and securing a settlement for the Red Granite funds.

He said also included in the deduction were the costs incurred by the DOJ and FBI in investigating, seizing and maintaining the Equanimity when it was arrested in Indonesian waters before it arrived in Malaysian waters.

Thomas said the DOJ is in the process of remitting a further sum of US$139 million which was the result of the sale of Jho Low’s interest in Park Lane Hotel, in Manhattan.

He said all costs incurred by the DOJ and FBI in investigating, seizing, litigating and securing a settlement for the Park Lane asset will be deducted from this settlement sum, and the balance is expected to be credited into the 1MDB asset recovery account soon.

Thomas said such recovery could not be achieved without the assistance and excellent cooperation that the Malaysian authorities enjoy with counterparts in the United States and Singapore.

“We express our gratitude to them. 1MDB asset recovery efforts across the globe are still ongoing, and Malaysia is optimistic of recovering further monies in the coming months,” he said. – Bernama