The U.S. Justice Department on June 15 filed complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of approximately $540 million in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
Combined with civil forfeiture complaints filed last July that seek more than $1 billion, and civil forfeiture complaints filed two weeks ago that seek approximately $100 million in assets, the case represents the largest action brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. Assets now subject to forfeiture in this case total almost $1.7 billion.
The complaints seek the forfeiture of Red Granite Pictures’ interest in the movies “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Daddy’s Home,” a condominium in New York City valued at nearly $5 million, diamond jewelry, artworks by Picasso and Basquiat, and a $260 million yacht called The Equanimity.
According to the complaints, from 2009 through 2015, more than $4.5 billion in funds belonging to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates. 1MDB was created by the government of Malaysia to promote economic development in the country through global partnerships and foreign direct investment, and its funds were intended to be used for improving the well-being of Malaysian citizens.
As alleged in the complaints, the members of the conspiracy – which included officials at 1MDB, their relatives and other associates – diverted more than $4.5 billion in 1MDB funds. Using fraudulent documents and representations, the co-conspirators allegedly laundered the money through a series of complex transactions and shell companies with bank accounts located in the United States and abroad.
Anyone with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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