Illustrative image (Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The US government has begun returning to Malaysia some 200 million USD recovered from asset seizures linked to the latter’s state investment fund 1MDB, the two countries announced on May 7.

Malaysia’s Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement that to date 57 million USD has been sent back to Malaysia following a settlement reached with Hollywood film production company Red Granite Pictures, which is linked to Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz.

Red Granite had paid the US government 60 million USD in September 2017 to settle a civil forfeiture claim over the rights to the 2013 Oscar-nominated film The Wolf of Wall Street, which the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said was financed with 1MDB funds.

A deduction of 3 million USD from the settlement was made to reimburse costs incurred by US authorities in investigating, seizing, litigating and securing settlement of the Red Granite funds, Thomas said.

The DoJ is also in the process of remitting another 139 million USD, pending the sale of a Manhattan property linked to fugitive Malaysian financier, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, he added.

The latest money returned by the US brings the total amount recovered by Malaysia to 322 million USD. This includes 126 million USD from the sale of a luxury yacht allegedly bought by Low with 1MDB funds.

Singapore authorities have also ordered a separate return of 50 million SGD (36.70 million USD) in 1MDB-linked funds to Malaysia, he added.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak founded the 1MDB investment fund in 2009, supposedly to serve Malaysia’s development through global partnerships and foreign direct investment.

However, it became the centre of a money laundering scandal, allegedly causing losses of up to 3.7 billion USD and leading to probes in Malaysia and several other countries such as the US, Switzerland, Singapore and China.–VNA