The US has formed a settlement deal with fugitive financier Jho Low to recover $700 million in assets tied to the multi-billion dollar 1MDB corruption scandal.
Under the settlement deal, Jho Low will return $700 million in assets linked to the 1MDB Malaysian state fund to US authorities, including high-end real estate and a luxury hotel.
If completed, the total amount recovered by the US government from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund will be over $1 billion.
The 1MDB scandal affected investors on a global scale, including Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs. US Attorney Nicola Hanna said in a statement from the US Justice Department: “A staggering amount of money embezzled from 1MDB at the expense of the people of Malaysia was laundered through the purchase of big-ticket assets in the US and other nations.”
“Thanks to this settlement, one of the men allegedly at the center of this massive scheme will lose all access to hundreds of millions of dollars,” Hanna added. In 2018, the Malaysian police issued a warrant of arrest for Low but currently, his is yet to be found.
1MDB is a sovereign wealth fund set up in 2009 to boost Malaysia’s economy through strategic investments but billions of dollars went missing. According to reports, Low allegedly misappropriated funds from the fund to purchase high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London, as well as a luxury boutique hotel in Beverly Hills.
Low also used the fund to make tens of millions of dollars in business investments. He is also accused of laundering money, along with his family, through financial institutions in several countries, including the US, Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg.
Low issued a statement through his lawyers saying that the settlement deal “fully and forever resolves in their entirety” the US government’s claims related to these assets. He added: “Importantly, the agreement does not constitute an admission of guilt, liability or any form of wrongdoing by me or the asset owners.”