KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is looking to locate at least 18 billion ringgit (US$4.34 billion) worth of further assets linked to a scandal at state fund 1MDB, and is working with at least five nations to recover the amount, its anti-corruption chief said on Tuesday (Nov 5).
US authorities say about US$4.5 billion was siphoned from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in a scandal spanning several countries.
The United States struck a deal last week to recover about US$700 million more from fugitive financier Jho Low, who has played a central role in the scandal. He had previously forfeited a US$126 million yacht and US$140 million in other assets.
But about 18 billion ringgit (US$4.34 billion) in assets remain unidentified and Malaysia was working with at least five countries to recover the amount, Latheefa Koya, the head of Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), told reporters.
"This what we're working on ... to locate, investigate and research where these properties are," Latheefa said.
She declined to give further details on the assets sought or the countries involved, citing pending investigations.
At least six countries, including Singapore and Switzerland, are investigating alleged graft and money laundering at 1MDB, founded by former prime minister Najib Razak.
Najib, who lost a general election last year, has since been charged with 42 criminal offences related to losses at 1MDB and other state entities.
He has consistently denied wrongdoing and his lawyers say he was misled by high-ranked officials at the fund.
Malaysia estimates that Low stole more than US$10 billion from 1MDB, attorney-general Tommy Thomas told the Nikkei Asian Review last month.
Low, who faces charges in Malaysia and the United States over the scandal, has consistently denied wrongdoing. His whereabouts are unknown.