US now moves criminal investigation into 1MDB funds

Source: FMT News

DoJ has asked a court in Los Angeles to put on hold its civil forfeiture lawsuits against Jho Low.

Image drawn from FMT News

LOS ANGELES: The US is conducting a criminal investigation into money stolen from 1MDB that allegedly was used to buy more than US$1 billion in real estate and other assets.

Court filings by the Department of Justice (DoJ) Thursday show the US is escalating its probe in a worldwide effort to track how much of the money that was raised by 1MDB for development projects was used to pay for luxury real estate, art, film productions and more.

DoJ officials asked a judge in Los Angeles to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, because pursuing these may have “an adverse effect” on its ability to conduct the criminal investigation.

In its civil cases, the US has alleged that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

An FBI agent warned in a court filing that information disclosed in the civil cases may reveal “potential targets and subjects of the investigation and the investigative techniques that have been and will be used in the investigation.”

“Such disclosures could result in the destruction of evidence, flight of potential subjects and targets, or the identification and intimidation of potential witnesses,” according to the agent’s declaration. Read more