The US Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement Wednesday in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fraud case in which Malaysian government officials allegedly siphoned money from the development bank for personal gain.
The DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative department finalized a settlement agreement that recovered $700 million from Low Taek Jho, who was the mastermind behind the scheme that allegedly misappropriated over $4.5 billion from 1MDB.
Under the terms of the settlement, Low, his family members, and FFP, a Cayman Islands entity serving as the trustees overseeing the assets at issues in these forfeiture actions, agreed to forfeit all assets subject to pending forfeiture complaints in which they have a potential interest. The trustees are also required to cooperate and assist the Justice Department in the orderly transfer, management and disposition of the relevant assets. From the assets formerly managed by FFP, the United States will release $15 million to Low’s counsel to pay for legal fees and costs. Under the agreement, none of those fees may be returned to Low or his family members. The assets subject to the settlement agreement include high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London; a luxury boutique hotel in Beverly Hills; and tens of millions of dollars in business investments that Low allegedly made with funds traceable to misappropriated 1MDB monies.
The combined total value of all assets seized is greater than $1 billion. Previously seized assets include the Park Lane Hotel in New York and a luxury yacht valued at $140 million and $120 million, respectively.
The 1MDB scandal has ensnared officials and entities including Goldman Sachs subsidiaries, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, and a former DOJ employee.