Wednesday, October 21, 2020

1MDB Trial: Malaysia charges Jho Low, two PetroSaudi execs for roles in money laundering scandal

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Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho faces new charges in Malaysia along with PetroSaudi International directors Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony over their alleged roles in the 1MDB scandal.

The three are accused of engaging in criminal conspiracy with Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak, while Mahony and Obaid face additional money laundering charges for allegedly receiving $300 million from 1MDB through unlawful activity, according to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. The charges were served in their absence on Monday at a Magistrate Court in Kuala Lumpur.

These are the first accusations against Mahony and Obaid in Malaysia, while Low, known as Jho Low, has already denied wrongdoing against previous charges filed against him in the Southeast Asian country.

Malaysia revived its investigation into troubled state fund 1MDB, or 1Malaysia Development Bhd., after a change of government in 2018 ousted Najib from power. Najib is undergoing trial for dozens of charges linked to the fund. The scandal is at the center of global probes from Switzerland to Singapore, with U.S. prosecutors estimating about $4.5 billion were siphoned from 1MDB.

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The court has issued arrest warrants against the three people, who aren’t in Malaysia, and sought help from Interpol to find them.

If found guilty of criminal conspiracy, they could face up to 20 years in jail and a fine of no less than five times the value of the gratification. A guilty conviction on the money-laundering charges could mean a maximum fine of 5 million ringgit ($1.2 million), or up to 5 years in jail, or both.

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