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Malaysia's State-Owned Investment Fund, Ex-Unit Sue to Recoup Billions

By VOA News May 10, 2021

Malaysia's state-owned 1MDB investment fund and a former unit have filed nearly two dozen civil lawsuits seeking $23 billion in assets allegedly looted from the two entities.

In a statement Monday, the finance ministry said 1MDB has filed six lawsuits against 25 people and nine entities, including two foreign financial institutions. The ministry says 1MDB's former subsidiary, SRC International, has filed 16 lawsuits against 15 people and eight entities. The ministry did not identify the targets.

Malaysia recovered nearly $5 billion in assets last August after settlement deals with U.S.-based investment firm Goldman Sachs, Malaysian banking group AmBank and audit firm Deloitte related to the 1MDB scandal.

Malaysian and U.S. authorities allege that at least $4.5 billion was looted from 1MDB as part of a wide-ranging embezzlement scheme involving former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who created the fund in 2009, and several cronies.

The 67-year-old Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of abuse of power, breach of trust and money laundering. Prosecutors accused Najib of illegally receiving nearly $10 million from SRC International.

Najib claims he was misled by Malaysian financier Jho Low and other rogue 1MDB officials into believing the money deposited into his personal accounts was donated by the Saudi royal family.

Najib faces as many as 42 charges involving the looting of 1MDB, which he formed to spur Malaysia's economic development. U.S. investigators say the missing money was instead used to buy hotels, luxury items such as a yacht, jewelry and classic artwork, and to finance the 2013 Hollywood feature film The Wolf of Wall Street. Investigators say as much as $1 billion ended up in Najib's personal accounts.

Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansour, is also facing several corruption charges after a raid on the couple's properties found more than $270 million in cash, jewelry, luxury handbags and other valuables.



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