June 17, 2024

DOJ returns additional $156 million in 1MDB funds to Malaysia

On June 13, 2024,  The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had repatriated $156 million more in funds to Malaysia that had allegedly been misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”).  This reportedly brings the total of 1MBD funds returned by the DOJ to nearly $1.4 billion.  The 1MDB fund was created by the government of Malaysia with the help of global partnerships and foreign direct investments.  The fund was intended to promote economic development in Malaysia and improve the well-being of the Malaysian people.

According to court documents, from 2009 through 2015, nearly $4.5 billion in 1MDB funds were misappropriated by high-level 1MDB officials, their associates and, in particular, Low Taek Jho, as part of a criminal scheme involving embezzlement and money laundering.  Some of the criminal proceeds were also allegedly used to pay bribes in furtherance of the scheme.  According to federal prosecutors, the funds were laundered through major financial institutions around the world, including the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, and Luxembourg.  Since 2016, the DOJ has seized more than $1.7 billion in stolen assets linked to the scheme, and litigation associated with the scheme continues.  To-date, federal authorities have also uncovered a wide variety of luxury items that were allegedly purchased with 1MDB funds or bond proceeds, including real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London; a 300-foot superyacht, and fine art by Monet and Van Gogh.  1MBD funds were also allegedly invested in numerous U.S. businesses, including high-end hotels, a movie production company, and a music publishing company.

DOJ Press Release