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NYT: Najib not named in US Justice Department complaint
Published:  Jul 20, 2016 3:41 PM
Updated: 1:39 PM

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will not be named in the United States Justice Department's forfeiture complaint, US-based publication The New York Times reported today.

However, the department is expected to name his step-son, Hollywood film producer Riza Aziz, as well as controversial businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, in the complaint.

A former International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) executive, the United Arab Emirates-based Khadem Al Qubaisi, will also be named in the complaint, according to NYT.

The US government reportedly plans to move and seize more than US$1 billion in assets purchased with money that people close to Najib reportedly “stole” from his brainchild, Malaysian strategic investment fund 1MDB.

The assets are in the form of real estate, art and other luxury goods and the forfeiture complaint is to be issued by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative unit, NYT reported.

This is said to be the largest such case brought by the Justice Department, it added.

Although the Kleptocracy unit usually seizes assets rather than charge individuals, the report said an asset complaint does not preclude possible criminal charges.

NYT said it could not immediately obtain comment from Riza, Jho Low or Khadem.

The influential New York-based newspaper reported that about US$150 million worth of purchases of residential properties in New York and Los Angeles, as well as several works of art, were made through shell companies.

Malaysiakini cannot independently verify the NYT report, and is attempting to contact 1MDB for its response.

A response has also been sought from the US Justice Department and the Prime Minister's Office.

Earlier today, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US Justice Department is expected to act to seize assets linked to 1MDB in what the report states is the largest asset seizure in US history.

The US Justice Department's lawsuits state that more than US$3.5 billion was misappropriated, Reuters reported.

The lawsuits seek to seize assets "involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB", the newswire reported.

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