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PM Thanks US Govt For Returning RM1.3 Billion Worth Of Stolen 1MDB Funds

"The amount of money stolen from the people of Malaysia is staggering."

Cover image via The Straits Times & Reuters/Nikkei Asian Review

The US Justice Department announced it had sent USD300 million (RM1.29 billion) in funds stolen in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal back to Malaysia on Tuesday, 14 April

According to New Straits Times, in addition to the funds that was handed over a year ago, the Justice Department said they have recovered more than USD1 billion (RM4.33 billion) in funds and assets lost in the scam.

They estimate that a total of USD4.5 billion (RM19.49 billion) was siphoned out of Malaysia between 2009 and 2014 through the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, which was started by the government under former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

"The repatriation of these stolen funds to the citizens of Malaysia is the result of the tireless efforts of prosecutors and federal agents to prevent foreign kleptocrats and their associates from using the United States as a playground where they can enjoy the fruits of their pilfered wealth," said US Attorney Nick Hanna in a statement.

"The amount of money stolen from the people of Malaysia is staggering, and we have been relentless in recovering assets that always should have been used for their benefit."

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed his gratitude to the US government, especially the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, for their assistance in returning the money

"I would also like to commend the Finance Minister and the Attorney General for their role in the negotiation process," said the Prime Minister in a statement this morning, 15 April, as quoted by The Star.

"The government is pleased to share that so far, inclusive of this most recent tranche of USD300 million, a total of USD620 million (RM2.38 billion) of 1MDB monies, in the form of sales of proceeds or assets, have been returned."

Image via Bernama

Muhyiddin said the USD300 million represents some of the assets which have been forfeited to and liquidated by the US Justice Department for its return to Malaysia

It includes proceeds from assets that were given up by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

According to Malaysiakini, assets that have been recovered so far include high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York, and London and tens of millions of dollars in business investments made by Jho Low using 1MDB monies.

"1MDB asset recovery efforts are ongoing, and the government will continue to work with the Unites States, the Justice Department, and other governments to recover and repatriate more 1MDB monies in the future," Muhyiddin said.

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is facing multiple criminal charges in relation to 1MDB:

Read more about the #1MDB scandal below: