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US DoJ offers up to US$5m reward in exchange for information on corrupt assets linked to 1MDB

A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard in Kuala Lumpur, March 30, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is seeking information on assets linked to corruption involving Malaysian sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), it announced today.

It said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are offering a reward of up to US$5 million (RM21 million) in exchange for information that leads to the seizure, restraint, forfeiture or repatriation of these assets.

According to the US Treasury Department’s website, the assets must be in an account at a US financial institution (including branches in foreign financial institutions) or in possession or control of someone in the US.

If the information leads to any of these seizures, the informants will be eligible for the reward.

A former Goldman Sachs employee is currently on trial in New York after he was charged with helping to launder hundreds of millions of US dollars looted from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

Roger Ng, Goldman’s former head of investment banking in Malaysia, stands accused of conspiring to launder money and violating an anti-bribery law. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

His former boss Timothy Leissner, a former partner of Goldman Sachs in Asia, pleaded guilty in 2018 to conspiracy to launder money, and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), in part by helping to pay US$1.6 billion (RM6.7 billion) in bribes linked to 1MDB.

He is now testifying against Ng as a US government witness.

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