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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Not an attempt to topple Malaysian gov't, says US embassy



The United States' Department of Justice (DOJ) suits related to 1MDB are not aimed at toppling the government of Malaysia, said the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
"No, this is not an attempt to topple Malaysia’s government.
"The goal is to recover the assets and return them for the benefit of the citizens of the affected country," an embassy spokesperson told Malaysiakini.
The spokesperson stressed that the DOJ suits were part of an initiative to protect US markets and financial systems from money launderers.
The embassy was responding to Umno information chief Annuar Musa, who claimed on Tuesday that the DOJ suits were a pre-emptive strike ahead of the next general election to change Malaysia's Muslim-led government.
The DOJ filed the third set of civil forfeiture suits involving 1MDB last week, aiming to seize an additional US$540 million in allegedly ill-gotten assets, which brings the total amount sought to US$1.7 billion.
The action is part of its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (Kari), which seeks to repatriate funds stolen from affected countries.
Among others, Thursday's filings claim that US$620 million allegedly returned by Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) to a "donor" was instead channelled to Penang-born tycoon Jho Low.
Low then allegedly used these funds to purchase, among others, a US$23.7 million pink diamond necklace for MO1's wife.
While neither MO1 nor his wife were named by the DOJ, Abdul Rahman said the lawsuit had implicated Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's wife Rosmah Mansor.
Abdul Rahman had last year also confirmed that MO1 was Najib.
However, he said the fact that Najib was not named showed the prime minister was not a subject of investigations.

Najib has repeatedly denied abusing public funds for personal gain and attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali has cleared the prime minister of any wrongdoing.
Whereas a law firm representing Rosmah had warned of legal action against those who make unfounded allegations against their client.
Pro-government supporters have accused the opposition of having a hand in the DOJ suits, which the opposition has denied.- Mkini

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