Mastermind close to capture . . .
The scandal that broke in 2015 surrounding Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund 1MDB, in which half of the US$8B raised was reportedly siphoned off illegally between 2009 and 2014, continues to make headlines across Asia and beyond. The Malaysian government announced today that it is close to capturing the alleged mastermind behind the scandal, businessman Jho Low, and the U.S. Government announced that it has sold two of Low’s condos in New York as part of a joint operation to recover the stolen money.
Behind the scenes . . .
In 2015, a Swiss banker turned whistleblower sparked a crisis in Malaysian politics when he revealed that a sovereign development fund set up with the help of Goldman Sachs was siphoning money to personal bank accounts. Then Prime Minister Najib Razak lost the 2018 elections amidst 1MDB allegations, and was subsequently arrested on money laundering charges that could find him behind bars for life. Meanwhile, Jho Low has been accused of diverting more than US$4.5 billion from 1MDB to shell companies, U.S. political campaigns, luxury real estate and art, and to fund blockbuster Hollywood movies.
Embezzled money everywhere . . .
The U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General have embraced the prosecution of the case against not only rogue Goldman Sachs’ bankers in charge of Malaysian accounts, but also against the bank itself. The Malaysian government is seeking co-operation in recovering assets and funnelled money around the globe, not only in the U.S., but also in Singapore, China, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia.
- Asia One: US looking to sell two 1MDB condos
- The Star Malaysia: Malaysians should be patient while waiting for Jho Low’s arrest
- This Week in Asia: Explained: the 1MDB scandal