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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Miranda Kerr hands over jewellery linked to Malaysia corruption case

Australian model Miranda Kerr has handed over $US8.1m (£6.3m) worth of jewellery to the US justice department after prosecutors said the items were bought for her by a Malaysian financier with stolen government money.

Kerr retrieved the gifts — including a $3.8m (£3m) 8.88 carat diamond pendant from New York-based designer Lorraine Schwartz — from a safe-deposit box in Los Angeles, her spokesman said.

“From the start of the inquiry, Miranda Kerr cooperated fully and pledged to turn over the gifts of jewellery to the government,” the spokesman told Dow Jones newswires. “Ms Kerr will continue to assist with the inquiry in any way she can.”

Miranda Kerr asked to relinquish jewels linked to Malaysian laundering case
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More than $4.5bn has been stolen from a Malaysian state fund, 1MDB, which was set up by the prime minister, Najib Razak, who denies any wrongdoing. Prosecutors allege nearly $30m (£23.8m) misappropriated from the fund was also used to buy jewellery for the wife of “Malaysian Official 1”, which refers to Najib.

The department is seeking to seize more than a billion pounds in assets, including a luxury mega-yacht, owned by financier Jho Low and his gift of some of the jewellery to Kerr in 2014.

The model, who owns her own jewellery line with prices starting at $69 (£54), follows the example of actor Leonardo DiCaprio, whose spokesman said had turned over $3.2m (£2.5m) in artwork, including a Picasso painting, gifted to him by Jho Low.

The rights to two Hollywood films, The Wolf of Wall Street and Dumb and Dumber To, have also been seized. The films were produced by Red Granite, a firm founded by Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz.

US authorities have not charged Jho Low, Najib or Aziz in the civil complaint, while Kerr and DiCaprio have not been accused of any crime.

1MDB said on Friday that it had never been contacted in relation to the case.

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