Fugitive financier Jho Low will stop fighting for assets valued between $650 million to $900 million in the massive 1MDB scandal.
He has given up his claim to assets including luxury apartments, jets, yachts and artwork that prosecutors claim he bought with stolen money, according to the New York Times. The settlement will likely impact the Time Warner Center along with multiple homes in Los Angeles.
“The message in this case is simple: The United States is not a safe haven for pilfered funds,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement. “Our strict anti-money laundering controls are effective, and we will seize assets used by criminals to conceal ill-gotten gains.”
Low released a statement saying that the settlement was “the result of good faith discussions” and stressed that it “does not constitute an admission of guilt, liability or any form of wrongdoing by me or the asset owners.”
Low has never appeared in criminal court in the United States or Malaysia, and he is believed to be living in China. The agreement did not include anything about giving Low special treatment in the pending criminal cases against him.
Federal authorities have accused Low and his associates of using money from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund to buy more than $1.7 billion worth of real estate, yachts, jets and jewelry. The fund was meant to support development in Malaysia but instead became notorious for corruption.
The Justice Department earlier this year recouped about $140 million after selling a stake Low had owned in the Park Lane Hotel.
Prosecutors are also investigating a series of bond deals that Goldman Sachs put together for 1MDB for about $6.5 billion. [NYT] – Eddie Small