Jho Low maintains innocence despite U.S. charges over 1MDB

03 November, 2018, 04:18 | Author: Donnie King
  • Jho Low contacted Mahathir's adviser last week to seek immunity: Report

An estimated $4.5bn was misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, the U.S. justice department alleged.

Another ex-Goldman official, Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty and agreed to pay US$43.7 million (S$60.2 million) in restitution of ill-gotten gains.

The criminal charges are the first to be brought by U.S. authorities over the vast, long-running scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The scandal has raised fresh questions about corporate culture at the prestigious investment bank.

Mr. Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and to violating foreign anti-bribery laws.

Prosecutors alleged bribes and kickbacks were paid in connection with Goldman's bond offerings on 1MDB's behalf, which generated some US$600 million in fees for the bank.

US prosecutors allege that Malaysian Low Taek Jho, usually known as Jho Low, was a central figure who orchestrated the ransacking of 1MDB.

Criminal scheme, Hollywood films and exquisite artwork. But the department pointed out that billions of dollars was misappropriated and "fraudulently diverted from 1MDB" between 2009 and 2014.

Low, Ng, Leissner, and others also conspired to bribe government officials in Malaysia, including at 1MDB - a state-owned and controlled fund meant to fund economic development projects in the country - and Abu Dhabi to keep lucrative deals to themselves, federal prosecutors said. Other funds were used for the personal benefit of defendants, including purchases of luxury US real estate and art.




Low, Ng and Leissner are the first individuals to be charged in the United States in relation to the scandal at 1MDB. Among its services, it helped raise $6.5 billion for the fund and earned nearly $600 million in fees for the bond issuance.

At the same time, Ng, Leissner and others allegedly received large bonuses and enhanced their own reputations at Goldman, the department said.

Low allegedly played a central role in plundering 1MDB. In 2012, he threw a lavish 31st birthday bash attended by Leonardo DiCaprio, Kim Kardashian and other celebrities that The Wall Street Journal called the "wildest party (Las) Vegas ever saw". The long-ruling coalition was ousted in a May election, and then-Prime Minister Najib Razak, who set up the fund, now faces criminal charges in Malaysia.

A few months later, some $4.1 million was transferred to a high-end New York City jeweler from a bank account linked to Leissner.

According to Astro Awani, Mr Daim said he demanded that Low return to Malaysia and provide names involved in the corruption scandal.

A spokesman Low, through his legal team, issued the following statement maintaining his innocence.

"As noted in the indictment today, Mr". Benjamin said that Low held no formal position at 1MDB and wasn't employed by Goldman Sachs or the governments of Malaysia or Abu Dhabi.

"Furthermore, the bond offerings detailed in the indictment were undertaken openly and lawfully between experienced, well-regulated financial institutions and government entities".

"The US Department of Justice specifically states that the charges in the indictment are allegations, and that Mr".

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