​Singapore law firm confirms 1MDB asset-recovery instructions from Malaysian government

31 July 2018 3:39pm

18 July 2018. By Phoebe Seers.

A Singaporean law firm told MLex today it has been instructed to recover assets misappropriated from Malaysia’s embattled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB.  

“I can confirm that Tan Rajah & Cheah have been appointed to look into the recovery of certain assets in Singapore belonging to the Government of Malaysia and/or 1MDB,” Imran Khwaja, a partner at Tan Rajah & Cheah, told MLex in response to e-mailed queries.

The firm has been instructed to bring legal proceedings against 53 individuals and companies and will file a claim in the Singapore High Court, according to other reports today citing an anonymous source. Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, is reported to be one of the 53.

Singapore authorities have already taken action against banks and individuals it said were responsible for anti-money laundering lapses related to 1MDB. To date, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS, has issued prohibition orders against eight persons involved in 1MDB-related breaches, preventing them from working in the financial sector.

MAS has shut down two local branches of merchant banks BSI Bank and Falcon Bank, due to egregious failures of money laundering controls and improper conduct by senior management.

Financial penalties of S$29.1 million ($21.3 million) in aggregate have been imposed on eight banks — BSI Bank, Falcon Bank, DBS, UBS AG, Standard Chartered Bank, Coutts, Credit Suisse and UOB for various breaches of AML requirements. Goldman Sachs is reported to be under investigation.

In Malaysia, former Prime Minster Najib Razak was charged earlier this month with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of using his office for personal gratification, in an investigation related to the misappropriation of funds from the state fund he founded.

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