$100m assets linked to 1MDB to be returned to Malaysia

June 26, 2024  -The US Justice Department has reached an agreement with fugitive financier Jho Low to return more than $100m (£79m) allegedly embezzled from Malaysia’s state-owned wealth fund as part of the 1MDB scandal.

The US said artworks by artists Andy Warhol and Claude Monet, and a luxury flat in Paris would be liquidated and assets worth $67m released to Malaysia.

Prosecutors allege the assets are linked to cash raised for the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund dating back to 2012 and 2013.

Mr Low, a wanted fugitive, remains at large, although his whereabouts are unknown.

The assets will supplement some $1.4bn already returned with the help of the US, the Justice Department said. In total, over $4.5bn was allegedly stolen from the 1MDB fund.

The US said as part of the agreement reached with Mr Low, his family and entities he established, it would coordinate with foreign countries to transfer assets held abroad to Malaysia.

The Justice Department said: “The agreement resolves the civil forfeiture action against a luxury apartment in Paris and artwork located in Switzerland by artists Andy Warhol and Claude Monet, which Low purchased for approximately $35 million in total.

“In addition, parties agreed to return to Malaysia real property and cash in bank accounts valued at approximately $67 million located in Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Singapore.”

Mr Low, real name Low Taek Jho, is alleged have been at the centre of the 1MDB scandal, which saw billions of dollars from a state fund meant to help the Malaysian people go missing.

US and Malaysian prosecutors allege the money lined the pockets of a few powerful individuals and was used to buy assets including luxury real estate, a private jet and expensive artwork.

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