Jho Low contacted Mahathir's adviser last week to seek immunity

Jho Low contacted Mahathir's adviser last week to seek immunity: Report

Two former Goldman Sachs bankers conspired to bribe Malaysian government officials and launder billions of dollars stolen from 1MDB, the country's sovereign wealth fund, American prosecutors alleged yesterday. It was not immediately clear who is representing Ng.

Yesterday, Reuters reported a three-count criminal indictment was unsealed in federal court in the Eastern District of NY charging Low Taek Jho, also known as "Jho Low," and Roger Ng with conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB funds and for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials. Another bank official, Ng Chong Hwa, 51, also known as Roger Ng, was arrested earlier on Thursday in Malaysia, prosecutors said. The unidentified co-conspirator agreed with Mr. Leissner not to tell anyone in Goldman's compliance department about the bribes, according to court documents.

These are the first criminal charges brought in the case, and the indictment accuses the men of laundering dirty money through the US financial system by purchasing luxury New York City real estate, artwork from an unnamed New York-based auction houses, and by funding unspecified major Hollywood productions.

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An estimated US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, the US Justice Department has alleged. He will forfeit $43.7 million as a "result of his crimes", officials said. Low, through his attorneys, had previously maintained his innocence and said he is confident of being vindicated.

They worked on three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised about $6.5bn for the fund, the indictment says. It has seized 240 million Singapore dollars ($180 million) of property and cash and says about half of that belonged to Low and his immediate family.

Mr Daim said Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho, has been requesting for many things, including a meeting with him and Dr Mahathir. Working with the FBI, Indonesian authorities seized Low's $250 million luxury yacht Equanimity off Bali in February and Malaysia's government is now auctioning it. Low, a friend of Najib's stepson Riza Aziz, had no official role at 1MDB but had considerable influence over its dealings and was in frequent contact with Najib, U.S. authorities have said. "Low held no formal position at 1MDB, nor was he ever employed by Goldman Sachs, or the Governments of Malaysia or Abu Dhabi", Low's spokesman said. A parliamentary inquiry found many irregularities but had no mandate to prosecute.

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An investigation by the Journal revealed millions linked to the fund ended up in Najib's personal bank accounts.

Najib and Mohamad Irwan Serigar Abdullah, the former treasury secretary-general, pleaded not guilty to misappropriating government funds between December 2016 and December 2017.

The investigation rocked Malaysian politics earlier this year, leading voters to oust Mr. Najib.

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Mustian reported from NY.

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