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Stolen 1MDB funds are focus of US criminal investigation
[LOS ANGELES] The US is conducting a criminal investigation into money stolen from a Malaysian state investment fund that allegedly was used to buy more than US$1 billion in real estate and other assets.
Court filings by the Justice Department Thursday shows the US is escalating its probe in a worldwide effort to track how much of the money that was raised by 1Malaysia Development Bhd for development projects was used to pay for luxury real estate, art, film productions and more.
Justice Department officials asked a judge in Los Angeles to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, because pursuing these may have "an adverse effect" on its ability to conduct the criminal investigation.
In its civil cases, the US has alleged that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.