KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will take legal action against individuals named in civil lawsuits filed by United States government last month if there is evidence that they defrauded 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said.
According to Reuters, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Governance, Integrity and Human Rights said, criminal prosecution “must be instituted” against all involved if funds were “stolen from us”.
“Our enforcement agencies and the attorney-general must cooperate fully with all international agencies to deal with the matter in an appropriate manner in order to allay negative perception and restore the trust and confidence of the people for the government,” the report quoted him as saying.
On July 21, US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch had announced that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) would proceed with legal action to seize more than US$1 billion (RM4 billion) in assets, including several high-end properties, renowned artworks and a business jet.
The DOJ claimed that the assets, purchased in various areas including New York, Beverly Hills and London, were purportedly bought using funds embezzled from 1MDB.
Among the individuals named in the DOJ civil lawsuit was Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.
1MDB, meanwhile, had denied it was a party to the civil suit brought by the US government.
The state investment fund also denied Lynch’s claims that it had assets in the US, nor has it benefited from the various transactions described in the civil suit.