Malaysia wants to recover another $4.3bn in 1MDB scandal

Malaysia is working with at least five different countries to recover the assets, said its anti-corruption head.

1MDB Malaysia
Malaysian officials say that much more has been stolen via state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad than the $4.5bn figure estimated by US authorities [File: Olivia Harris/Reuters]

Malaysia is working to locate at least $4.3bn in assets that have yet to be accounted for in a global money-laundering investigation into state investment fund 1MDB, the country’s anti-corruption chief said on Tuesday.

United States authorities say about $4.5bn was siphoned from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in a scandal spanning several countries but Malaysian officials say much more was stolen.

The US struck a deal last week to recover about $700m more from fugitive financier Jho Low, who has played a central role in the scandal. He had previously forfeited a $126m yacht and $140m in other assets.

But about 18 billion ringgit ($4.34bn) in assets remain unidentified and Malaysia was working with at least five countries to recover the amount, Latheefa Koya, the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), told reporters.

“This what we’re working on… to locate, investigate and research where these properties are,” Latheefa said.

She declined to give further details on the assets sought or the countries involved, citing pending investigations.

At least six countries, including Singapore and Switzerland, are investigating alleged corruption and money laundering at 1MDB, founded by former prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib, who lost a general election last year, has since been charged with 42 criminal offences related to losses at 1MDB and other state entities.

He has consistently denied wrongdoing and his lawyers say he was misled by high-ranked officials at the fund.

Malaysia estimates that Low stole more than $10bn from 1MDB, attorney general Tommy Thomas told the Nikkei Asian Review last month.

Low, who faces charges in Malaysia and the US over the scandal, has consistently denied wrongdoing. His whereabouts are unknown.

Source: Reuters