KUALA LUMPUR: The United States government has made the first installment of funds recovered from asset seizures related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) under its Justice Department’s (DoJ’s) Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said the first tranche of returned funds of US$57,036,688.68 (about RM236,56 million) was credited into the 1MDB asset recovery account, a segregated trust account, opened specifically for the purpose.
“The sum was forfeited from Red Granite Pictures, a US-based film production company linked to former prime minister (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak and his stepson Riza Aziz and arose from a US$60 million settlement recorded before the Court of California,” he said in a statement.
Thomas said a deduction of some US$3 million was made to reimburse costs incurred by the DoJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in investigating, seizing, litigating and securing settlement for the Red Granite funds.
“Also included in this deduction were the costs incurred by the DoJ and FBI in investigating, seizing and maintaining the (superyacht) Equanimity when she was (stopped) in Indonesian waters before she arrived in our waters.
“The DoJ is in the process of remitting a further sum of US$139 million, which is the result of the sale of Jho Low’s (fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho) interest in Park Lane Hotel, in Manhattan.
“All costs incurred by the DoJ and FBI in investigating, seizing, litigating and securing settlement for the Park Lane asset will be deducted from this settlement sum, and the balance is expected to be credited into the 1MDB asset recovery account soon.”
Thomas said Malaysia had, so far, recovered US$322 million worth of
1MDB assets since investigation into 1MDB effectively began after the 14th General Election in May last year.
It was recently reported that the value of assets that the DoJ was seeking to forfeit was estimated at US$1.7 billion, including the Equanimity, which was sold by the Malaysian Admiralty Court for US$126 million.
“A separate sum of S$50 million (RM152.3 million) of funds traceable to 1MDB have been ordered by the Singapore Courts to be repatriated.
“Some S$15 million was credited into 1MDB asset recovery account between September last year and March this year.
“The balance... will be credited shortly.
“Such recovery could not be achieved without the assistance and excellent cooperation that the Malaysian authorities enjoy with our counterparts in the United States and Singapore.
“We express our gratitude to them.
“1MDB asset recovery efforts across the globe are still ongoing, and Malaysia is optimistic of recovering further monies in the coming months,” said Thomas.