AG: RM1.5 billion of 1MDB funds retrieved

AG: RM1.5 billion of 1MDB funds retrieved

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has retrieved RM1.335 billion of funds, allegedly from 1MDB, from the United States of America. Another RM152.3 million was recovered from Singapore.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas who confirmed this said that both the US and Singapore are also in the process of returning proceeds of other related assets.

The list of funds recovered are as follows:

  • The Equanimity: US$126 million (RM522.6 million) – Sold by Malaysia
  • Red Granite Pictures: US$57 million (RM236.4 million) – Repatriated by US
  • Parklane Hotel, Manhattan: US$139 million (RM576.5 million) – US to repatriate
  • Singapore accounts: S$50 million (RM152.3 million) – Repatriated by Singapore

“Thus, Malaysia has recovered US$322 million (some RM1.3 billion) worth of 1MDB assets since the investigation into 1MDB effectively began after the 14th general election in May 2018.

“A separate sum of S$50 million of funds traceable to 1MDB has been ordered by the Singapore Courts to be repatriated.

“S$15 million was credited into the 1MDB asset recovery account between September last year to March this year. The balance of S$35 million will be credited shortly,” said Thomas.

He also confirmed that US repatriated the first tranche of the US$57 million forfeiture sum from Red Granite Pictures, which has been deducted for cost by US enforcement agencies.

The sum is from a US$60 million forfeiture settlement between Red Granite Pictures and the US Department of Justice, which had accused the company, co-founded by former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz, of financing films with stolen 1MDB funds.

Among the films was “Wolf of Wall Street”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Red Granite did not need to admit liability and wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

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

“All costs incurred by the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation (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,” said Thomas.

The returning funds are on top of Malaysia’s sale of the super yacht the Equanimity, which was allegedly commissioned by fugitive businessman Jho Low using stolen 1MDB funds, for US$126 million last month.

The super yacht was seized off the coast of Bali in February last year in a joint operation between Indonesian police and the FBI and subsequently handed over to Malaysia.

“Such recovery could not be achieved without the assistance and excellent cooperation that the Malaysian authorities enjoy with our counterparts in the US 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,” said Thomas.

The sum repatriated from the US is part of the US$1.7 billion (RM7.05 billion) in assets that the DOJ is trying to recover.

However, the recovery is less than half of the estimated US$4.5 billion (RM18.7 billion) that the DOJ said was misappropriated.

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