Monday 10 May 2021 9:29 am

Malaysia’s 1MDB launches legal bid to recover $23bn in assets after fraud scandal

Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has launched a legal bid to recover $23bn (£16.3bn) in assets following a fraud scandal that rocked the southeast Asian country.

Malaysia and US state investigators estimate at least $4.5bn was stolen from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014 in a corruption scandal that has implicated former prime minister Najib Razak.

The fund and its former unit SRC International have filed 22 civil suits against people and entities allegedly involved in the fraud.

1MDB has filed six suits against 25 people and nine organisations — including two foreign financial institutions — for breach of contract, fraud, conspiracy, negligence, and other wrongdoing, the country’s finance ministry said in a statement.

SRC filed 16 suits against 15 people and eight entities for similar offences.

“1MDB and SRC contend that these entities and/or individuals have been unjustly enriched by wrongfully receiving monies from 1MDB or SRC,” the finance ministry said.

It comes after Malaysia recovered nearly $5bn in assets following deals with various financial institutions. This included nearly $3bn from Goldman Sachs and $80m from Deloitte.

At least six countries are investigating alleged fraud at 1MDB, which was set up by Razak in 2009.

The former prime minister was found guilty of corruption and money laundering last year. He denies wrongdoing and is appealing the verdict.

Authorities are still on the hunt for fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the massive fraud.