AG: DoJ suit politically motivated

(MMO) – Tan Sri Apandi Ali today accused the US Justice Department of being politically driven in its lawsuit to seize assets allegedly linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

According to national news agency Bernama, the Attorney-General said the US agency would have formally contacted him if the legal action did not carry an ulterior motive.

“If they asked (for information related to 1MDB), we would have been obliged to provide assistance. So, I conclude that the action is politically tinged,” he was quoted as saying.

“The DoJ action is also believed to be based on information provided by a section from Malaysia itself.”

The DoJ is currently seeking to recover US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) in assets — including artworks, jewellery and film rights — that it alleged were purchased with misappropriated funds.

In July 20 last year, the DoJ had led a civil lawsuit seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets linked to what it described as an “international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated” from 1MDB, the largest case ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

Apandi previously criticised the DoJ over the latest round of lawsuits, and expressed frustration that he had not been informed prior to their announcement.

The US lawsuit had implicated several Malaysians along with international celebrities such as Australian model Miranda Kerr, who announced that she has surrendered over US$8 million in jewellery allegedly given to her by a prominent Malaysian tycoon.