$2.3 million jewellery set linked to 1MDB case to be handed to US
A US$1.7 million (S$2.3 million) diamond jewellery set, allegedly bought for the mother of fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, will be handed over to the US government, US prosecutors said in a court filing.
Low, known as Jho Low, has been charged in Malaysia and the US for his role in the suspected theft of about US$4.5 billion from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Low, whose whereabouts are unknown, has consistently denied wrongdoing.
In 2017, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed civil forfeiture lawsuits on several assets said to have been bought with stolen 1MDB funds.
They included a pair of flawless diamond earrings and a matching ring.
On Wednesday, US prosecutors said the diamonds would be handed over to the US as part of an agreement reached with the custodian of the set.
The transfer "shall not be construed as an admission of wrongdoing or liability on the part of the current custodian or any other party", the prosecutors said in a filing in a California court.
Prosecutors did not say who the set's custodian was, but earlier filings said the jewellery was believed to be in Thailand where Low's mother, Madam Goh Gaik Ewe, lives.
The DOJ alleged that Low bought the diamonds as a gift for his mother, using funds diverted from bond proceeds raised by 1MDB in 2012.
Low's spokesman said in a statement that his client was "pleased to learn that the United States Department of Justice and all the relevant parties are working to amicably resolve these matters".
"We look forward to the continuing resolution of these issues," the spokesman, Mr Benjamin Haslem, said.
The authorities in at least six countries are investigating suspected money laundering and graft linked to 1MDB, set up in 2009 by then Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.
Najib, who lost power in a general election last year, is facing more than 40 criminal charges related to losses at 1MDB and other government entities.
He has consistently denied wrongdoing. - REUTERS
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