Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Najib’s lawyer charged with money laundering

The lawyer for former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was charged with money laundering at a court in Kuala Lumpur on 13 September, according to press reports.

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is leading a defence team for Najib, pleaded not guilty to two charges of money laundering and two counts of false income tax declaration brought by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which is investigating alleged fraud and misappropriation at 1MDB.

Shafee allegedly received 4.3 million ringgit (worth some $1.3 million at the time) from Najib on 13 September 2013, and another sum worth 5.2 million ringgit on 17 February 2014.

Kim Kardashian may have to give up $325,000 Ferrari in 1MDB probe

US prosecutors may seek to seize Kim Kardashian’s white $325,000 Ferrari because it was given to her and her then-husband Kris Humphries as a wedding gift in 2011 by disgraced 1MDB financier Jho Low, according to celebrity news magazine Page Six.

Malaysian police indicted Low for money-laundering tied to the Malaysian development fund on 24 August. He has denied wrongdoing.

Malaysian and US authorities are currently seeking to recover assets bought with money allegedly stolen from the fund. 

In an interview with the Financial Times published on 13 September, Malaysia’s finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, said that the country is seeking to recover 30% of the money misappropriated from 1MDB. 

OCCRP alleges Gunvor used Belgian passport to funnel bribes to Congo and Ivory Coast officials

The Organized Crime & Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) claims that Swiss commodities trading company Gunvor used Belgian passport company Semlex to pay bribes to officials in the Republic of the Congo and Ivory Coast.

In a report on 7 September, the OCCRP said that Semlex was used to pay bribes including $7.6 million to officials close to former Ivory Coast’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, between 2010 and 2011. Gunvor and Semlex have denied wrongdoing.

The report follows a former Gunvor employee Pascal Collard’s guilty plea on 28 August. Collard received an 18-month suspended jail sentence after admitting to money laundering and bribing officials in the Ivory Coast and the Republic of the Congo.

UK magistrate deliberates Vijay Mallya’s extradition

The chief magistrate at Westminster Magistrates Court said on 12 September that she will issue her decision on whether to extradite Vijay Mallya to India to face fraud charges on 10 December, according to the Financial Times.

Mallya, who has been living in the UK since 2016, is fighting an Indian government request to be extradited to face allegations of financial misconduct relating to the 2012 collapse of Mallya’s former company, Kingfisher Airlines. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation brought the charges  against Mallya, who denies wrongdoing. 

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