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Pledge on 1MDB funds recovery
Published on: Friday, August 19, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low (pic) said any money stolen from the Government must be recovered in full and the guilty punished.

"Those guilty must be punished in accordance with our laws and those of the countries where the money was laundered.

"The Government's credibility and reputation are in question, and therefore appropriate action must be taken against the perpetrators of the crime," said Low in his Governance Symposium 2016 keynote speech Thursday.

Low said he was referring to the recent actions taken by the US Justice Department based on civil complaints against certain individuals who are Malaysians.

"As these allegations make reference to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the Government takes the matter very seriously.

"The cases must be viewed on the facts and evidence that have been presented by the investigators.

"Should it be established that funds were taken out from 1MDB, the Government will take legal action against the individuals named, or anyone else who is complicit in the scheme to allegedly defraud 1MDB," said Low.

He added that Malaysian law enforcement agencies and the Attorney-General must cooperate fully with all international agencies in the investigation.

"This is to allay negative perceptions and restore the trust and confidence of the people in the Government," said Low.

1MDB is at the center of several international investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering by public officials. Prosecutors in at least four countries – Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the US – are looking into money flows from the investment vehicle, which was established for national development.

More than US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, and about US$1 billion was laundered through the US banking system, the US Justice Department said last month, laying out its case in a dozen filings. The alleged scheme of international money laundering and misappropriation stretched from 2009 to 2015, and money went to buy luxury real estate in the US, pay gambling expenses in Las Vegas and acquire US$200 million in artwork, it said.

The US did not name any individuals as defendants. Malaysian financier Jho Low has said he provided consulting to 1MDB that didn't break any laws and previous efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

US prosecutors also referred to a top Malaysian official who controlled accounts that received hundreds of millions of dollars. The official isn't accused of wrongdoing.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has said the Justice Department's action should be allowed to run its course and those accused should be permitted to defend themselves.

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