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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

1MDB scandal: Jho Low's jet seized by Singapore

A private jet belonging to Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho - who is under investigation for his involvement in the scandal-hit Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) - has been seized by Singapore authorities, media in both Singapore and Malaysia reported.

The jet, a Bombardier Global 5000 with the registration number N689WM, is parked in the city state's Seletar Airport, according to Malaysia's Sarawak Report and Singapore's TODAY newspaper.

That jet registration information had been listed by the US Department of Justice in a court document last July about assets of Low's that it was looking to seize. The filing, connected to recent developments by Sarawak Report, was part of investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering involving 1MDB funds.

In response to an enquiry from CNBC, the Singapore Police Force declined to comment, noting that investigations are ongoing.

Questions about movement of funds from 1MDB came to widespread attention when the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2013 nearly US$700 million (S$993 million) had flowed from the debt-ridden fund to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal bank account.

Najib has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and, under pressure from the outcry caused by the report, said the funds were a private donation from a Middle Eastern country he declined to name. He has denied benefiting personally from the funds.

In January, Malaysia's Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali said that Saudi Arabia's royal family gave Najib a US$681 million gift, of which Apandi said about US$600 million was later returned.

Apandi said that no criminal offence had been committed. But globally, investigations continued into 1MDB in locales as varied as US, Switzerland, Singapore and the Seychelles.

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