Malaysia, 5 countries to probe into 1MDB scandal

The Malaysian government is working with at least five countries to recover $4.34 billion (18 billion ringgit) worth of assets allegedly siphoned from the 1Malaysia Development Bank.

Latheefa Koya, head of Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), told reporters on Tuesday that the MACC was yet to recover the total amount.

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

She declined to divulge details on the assets sought or the other countries involved in the probe, citing pending investigations.

The United States Justice department last week struck a deal to recoup $1 billion funds from fugitive financier Jho Low, who played a significant role in the 1MDB scandal.

US authorities said that about $4.5 billion was lost from 1MDB, a company which was founded by then-Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. Singapore and Switzerland said they are also taking part in the investigation.

Razak lost in the general elections last year and has been charged 42 counts of criminal charges linked to the 1MDB heist. He denied any wrongdoings, saying he was only misled by high-ranked officials at the fund.

Meanwhile, Low, who is currently facing several charges in United States and Malaysia, denied involvement in the alleged heist.

However, he agreed to surrender a private jet, upscale properties in Beverly Hills, New York, and London, as well as other properties amounting to $700 million. This is on top of a $126-million yacht and $140 million worth of other assets forfeited previously.

If approved, the US Justice department said the settlement will mark the largest civil forfeiture ever concluded.

Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia will file a claim on the seized assets.

“The assets were bought with Malaysian money, we have proof that it was Malaysian money,” he said.

“We will now make a claim with the American government,” he added.

In May this year, Malaysia was able to recoup $200 million from the United States following the sale of the linked assets.

The US Justice department has since 2016 filed criminal lawsuits against officials linked to the scandal and sought to recoup $1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought using the stolen funds.

Speaking on behalf of Low, his lawyers said that Low is confident that he will be treated fairly and that he was looking forward to addressing other issues.