AG confirms RM1.5b in 'stolen' 1MDB funds recovered, RM5.7b left

Modified 7 May 2019, 6:59 am

Malaysia has recovered RM1.335 billion to date from the funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB to acquire assets in the US.

This, plus a separate RM152.3 million recovered from Singapore, brings the total to nearly RM1.5 billion.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, who confirmed this, said apart from Malaysia's sale of the superyacht Equanimity, the US and Singapore also returned or are in the process of returning proceeds from other assets allegedly acquired using stolen 1MDB funds.

Below is the list of funds recovered:

The Equanimity: US$126 million (RM522.6 million) - Sold by Malaysia

Red Granite Pictures: US$57 million (RM236.4 million) - Repatriated by US

Parklane Hotel, Manhattan: US$139 million (RM576.5 million) - US to repatriate

Singapore accounts: S$50 million (RM152.3 million) - Repatriated by Singapore

"Thus, Malaysia has recovered US$322 million (some RM1.3 billion) worth of 1MDB assets since the investigation into 1MDB effectively began after the 14th general election in May 2018.

"A separate sum of S$50 million of funds traceable to 1MDB has been ordered by the Singapore Courts to be repatriated.

“S$15 million was credited into the 1MDB asset recovery account between September last year and March this year. The balance of S$35 million will be credited shortly," Thomas said.

The AG also confirmed that the US repatriated the first tranche of the US$57 million forfeiture sum from Red Granite Pictures, which has been deducted for cost by US enforcement agencies.

The sum is from a US$60 million forfeiture settlement between Red Granite Pictures and the US Department of Justice, which had accused the company, co-founded by former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak's stepson Riza Aziz, of financing films with stolen 1MDB funds.

Among the films was "The Wolf of Wall Street", which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Red Granite did not need to admit liability and wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

"The DOJ is in the process of remitting a further sum of US$139 million, which is the result of the sale of Jho Low's interest in Park Lane Hotel, in Manhattan.

"All costs incurred by the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in investigating, seizing, litigating and securing a settlement for the Park Lane asset will be deducted from this settlement sum, and the balance is expected to be credited into the 1MDB asset recovery account soon," said Thomas.

The repatriated funds are on top of Malaysia's sale of the superyacht the Equanimity, which was allegedly commissioned by fugitive businessperson Jho Low using stolen 1MDB funds, for US$126 million last month.

The superyacht was seized off the coast of Bali in February last year in a joint operation between Indonesian police and the FBI and subsequently handed over to Malaysia.

"Such recovery could not be achieved without the assistance and excellent cooperation that the Malaysian authorities enjoy with our counterparts in the US and Singapore.

"We express our gratitude to them. 1MDB asset recovery efforts across the globe are still ongoing, and Malaysia is optimistic of recovering further monies in the coming months," said Thomas.

The sum repatriated from the US is part of the US$1.7 billion (RM7.05 billion) in assets that the DOJ is trying to recover.

However, the recovery is less than half of the estimated US$4.5 billion (RM18.7 billion) that the DOJ said was misappropriated.



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