As part of the ongoing money-laundering probe of Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB, which is perhaps best known for Goldman’s enabling and participation in what may end up being one of the world’s biggest, multi-billion, cross-border embezzlement schemes, on Thursday the DOJ moved to seize a Picasso and Basquiat paintings given to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as rights to two Hollywood comedies, in complaints filed to recover about $540 million they say was “stolen” from 1MDB (with Goldman’s help).
The DOJ filing was the latest in a long series of legal actions tied to money laundering at the fund set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 – who still remains in power – to promote economic development. In the complaint filed overnight, the department alleged that more than $4.5 billion was taken from 1MDB by high-level fund officials and their associates. Fraud allegations against 1MDB go back to 2009 and the fund is subject to money laundering investigations in at least six countries, including Switzerland and Singapore.
“This money financed the lavish lifestyles of the alleged co-conspirators at the expense and detriment of the Malaysian people,” Kenneth Blanco, acting assistant AG said in a statement. The name of Goldman Sachs, which participated and directly profited from many of the 1MDB transactions, was oddly missing from today’s filing.
Najib has denied taking money from 1MDB or any other entity for personal gain, after it was reported that investigators traced nearly $700 million to bank accounts that were allegedly in his name.
And while we won’t hold our breath to learn why Goldman’s involvement was mysteriously dropped, Reuters reported that Leonardo DiCaprio has turned over an Oscar won by Marlon Brando to U. S. investigators probing the 1MDB money laundering. DiCaprio also initiated the return of other, unidentified items that the actor said he accepted as gifts for a charity auction and which originated from people connected to the 1MDB wealth fund, they said in a statement.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 15, 2017.