Malaysia wants first crack at Jho Low, says Dr M | Malaysia

Adjust Comment Print

In the indictment unsealed by a federal court Thursday, prosecutors accuse former Goldman Sachs banker Ng Chong Hwa and financier Low Taek Jho - known as "Jho Low" - with conspiring to launder money embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berha - known as 1MDB - Malaysia's investment development fund, as well as conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The filing of criminal charges in the matter was a rare move against senior executives of a major USA bank in the decade since the financial crisis.

Former prime minister Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, is a Malaysian film producer and the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, the Los Angeles-based film company that produced the movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

Some of the laundered funds were then allegedly used to pay bribes to obtain business for Goldman. "The charges that were leveled, there were no indication or no accusation of benefiting, personally benefiting, from the decisions we have taken".

Low, who is also wanted in Malaysia and Singapore, contacted the top adviser to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last week to seek immunity, a report said.

Goldman Sachs itself was not charged.

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.

Low is represented by Marc Kasowitz, an attorney who has formerly represented US President Donald Trump, a DOJ spokesman said.

Donald Trump is being heavily criticised for tweeting out a "racist" video
That ad was part of a blitz by Mr Trump's campaign, and his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, did several interviews to promote it. The Daily Beast reported that Bracamontes was deported to Mexico in 1997 under the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton.

The investment bank, which generated about $600m in fees for its work with 1MDB, has in the past repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said it was cooperating with authorities.

The bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 36-year-old Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, was indicted in the federal court in the Eastern District of NY on Thursday, the same day the department arrested former Goldman Sachs banker, Ng Chong Hwa (Roger Ng), was arrested in Malaysia.

Mr Low has previously denied charges filed in Malaysia, adding that it would be "impossible" for him to receive a fair trial there.

Ng was also charged with conspiring to violate the internal controls at Goldman Sachs, which underwrote more than US$6 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB.

U.S. authorities have previously filed civil suits aimed at recovering luxury goods, cash and other items allegedly purchased with money from the fund. Ng was arrested earlier yesterday in Malaysia, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant issued at the request of the United States, they said. In total, more than US$2.7 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.

While US prosecutors have previously filed civil asset forfeiture suits for assets allegedly bought with some of the stolen funds, these are the first criminal charges the Justice Department has brought against individuals in the case under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law targeting official bribery overseas.

Mr Ng was a managing director at Goldman until his departure in May 2014. It was not clear if Ng had a lawyer.

Comments