Financier and two former Goldman bankers charged in vast Malaysian fraud case

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Also unsealed yesterday in federal court in the Eastern District of NY was the guilty plea of Tim Leissner, the former South-east Asia Chairman and participating managing director of the Financial Institution, to a two-count criminal information charging Leissner with conspiring to launder money and conspiring to violate the FCPA by both paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials and circumventing the internal accounting controls of the Financial Institution while he was employed by it. The BBC has not yet been able to contact a lawyer representing him.

Low is seeking immunity in exchange for assistance in finding assets linked to the scandal-ridden fund, Daim said in the report published Wednesday, adding that the government hasn't been swayed.

The men were charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars from 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, a sovereign wealth fund set up for development of the country, and conspiring to bribe officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Ng was arrested on Thursday in Malaysia, authorities said. Mr.

The set of charges represent the first criminal prosecutions in the USA arising from the epic corruption scandal at the state investment fund known as 1MDB. The justice department's kleptocracy asset recovery initiative has already filed civil charges aimed at seizing assets allegedly bought with embezzled 1MDB funds, including a $39m mansion in the Los Angeles hills and a $30m penthouse in Manhattan overlooking Central Park. He has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7 million.

Mr Low, who was charged earlier in Malaysia, has repeatedly declared his innocence. Najib chaired its advisory board and as finance minister held veto power over its activities.

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The third person, the financier popularly known as Jho Low, remains at large.

They worked on three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised about $6.5bn for the fund, the indictment says.

The Malaysian government is now seeking restitution from Goldman. Low, a friend of Najib's stepson Riza Aziz, had no official role at 1MDB but had considerable influence over its dealings and was in frequent contact with Najib, U.S. authorities have said.

Mr Daim said that on one occasion, he demanded that Low return to Malaysia and provide names involved in the 1MDB corruption scandal.

Former leader Mahathir Mohammad, outraged over the scandal, came out of retirement and the opposition united behind him in the national elections, leading to Najib's ouster in May.

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Roughly $681m of that money is alleged to have ended up in the private bank accounts of Najib, who is facing 38 charges of corruption in an ongoing investigation into the 1MDB scandal.

An attorney for Najib, Shafee Abdullah, dismissed the latest charges as "foolish".

Najib and Mohamad Irwan Serigar Abdullah, the former treasury secretary-general, pleaded not guilty to misappropriating government funds between December 2016 and December 2017.

Mustian reported from NY.

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