In March, the federal government sold a 13,000-square-foot mansion in the exclusive Bird Streets neighborhood that once belonged to Malaysian fugitive Jho Low. In May, it unloaded a condo in New York City’s trendy Soho neighborhood that Low had also owned.
Now, the government wants to sell off another property it seized from him, the 116-room Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, according to the New York Times. An auction planned for this summer could bring in $100 million for the luxury hotel, according to the report.
The government will split the proceeds with the Malaysian government. Low and his associates are charged with defrauding Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB of $2.5 billion.
The fund was meant to finance infrastructure projects, but Low and his associates instead took that money for themselves to buy luxury goods, real estate, along with other lavish personal items, authorities allege.
In October, Low forfeited around $700 million in assets he acquired during the several years he ran the 1MDB scam before U.S. authorities caught up with him in 2016. That included $100 million or so in real estate assets.
Along with the Viceroy L’Ermitage, the Bird Streets home and the Soho condo, Low bought an 85 percent stake in the Park Lane Hotel, and another Manhattan condo. The L.A. home and the Soho condo were both sold at steep discounts. The L.A. home sold for $18.5 million, less than half what Low had paid in 2016.
The U.S. government says it has returned about $500 million to Malaysia through the sale of seized assets. The Malaysian government has brought in money as well, including $126 million from the April 2019 sale of a 300-foot yacht that Low bought with the stolen money. [NYT] — Dennis Lynch