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Jho Low's NY condos to be sold in 1MDB forfeiture lawsuits

Los Angeles

TWO luxury New York City condominiums that fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Low is accused of buying with money stolen from a state investment fund are to be sold as part of US forfeiture lawsuits targeting the properties.

On Wednesday, lawyers for Low - whose full name is Low Taek Jho - and the US asked a Los Angeles federal judge to let them take the first step toward listing sales of the US$31 million Time Warner penthouse at 80 Columbus Circle, which Low acquired in 2011, and a US$14 million condo at 118 Greene Street that he bought in 2014.

Who will keep the proceeds remains unresolved while Low continues to fight the forfeiture suits.

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Low is the alleged mastermind behind a multibillion-dollar theft from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund.

Prosecutors say the money was used to buy real estate in California and New York, a US$250 million yacht, works of art by Picasso and Monet, a private jet and millions of dollars worth of jewelry for his one-time girlfriend, Hollywood actress Miranda Kerr.

Some of the assets that the US has been trying to seize, including Low's stake in EMI Music Publishing, have been liquidated per court order and the proceeds are being held pending the outcome of the forfeiture lawsuits.

This month, federal prosecutors and Low's lawyers asked the Los Angeles judge for permission to sell a US$39 million mansion in Los Angeles because the empty estate was too expensive to maintain.

"Low is aware of two further successfully negotiated agreements with the US government," a representative of Low said in a statement.

"This continued ongoing collaboration is crucial in order to protect both the value of the assets and the parties' legal rights." BLOOMBERG