In a settlement negotiated in part by Los Angeles federal prosecutors, the Department of Justice Wednesday announced an agreement to recover $49 million in assets bilked from a Malaysian development fund, some of which was used to purchase high-end real estate in Beverly Hills.
The assets were allegedly acquired by Khadem al-Qubaisi by laundering money misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a Malaysian government-run company set up to attract foreign investment and improve the well-being of the Malaysian people, according to Thom Mrozek, director of media relations for the United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.
The money was allegedly laundered through multiple financial institutions in the United States, Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg.
“From 2009 through 2015, more than $4.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB were allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates, including Al-Qubaisi, through a criminal conspiracy involving international money laundering and bribery,” according to Mrozek.
Al-Qubaisi, who was once the head of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co., was sentenced in Abu Dhabi in 2019 to 15 years in prison for financial crimes related to the Malaysian fund scandal.
The Department of Justice has recovered or assisted in the recovery of nearly $1.1 billion related to the 1MDB laundering scheme, the largest under the department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative and the largest civil forfeiture concluded by the Justice Department, according to Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The Justice Department announced on April 14 that it had returned $300 million to Malaysia in funds from the scandal.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s International Corruption Squads in New York and Los Angeles, and IRS Criminal Investigation detectives.
“Funds stolen from the people of Malaysia were used to acquire high-end properties, including residences each worth tens of millions of dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna of the Central District of California.
“The cases resolved today continue to demonstrate our commitment to protecting the integrity of American financial institutions and ensuring that corrupt players cannot use our nation to conceal stolen riches.”
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