U.S. prosecutors are preparing to seize more than US$1billion worth of assets purchased with money allegedly from Malaysian stateinvestment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, The Wall Street Journal reported July 20, citing "peoplefamiliar with the matter."
Authorities are reportedly set to file civil lawsuitsseeking to seize the assets, which include real estate and businesses in theU.S. The action is expected to be one of the largest asset seizures in theU.S., surpassing civil suits that sought to seize US$850 million in assetsinvolving three telecom companies.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are alsoconducting a criminal investigation into people and institutions connected with1MDB, the people said.
Investigators believe that money originating from 1MDB wasused to buy real estate in New York City and Los Angeles.
1MDB has been at the center of several probes in variousjurisdictions around the world. Regulators in Singapore and Switzerland haveinvestigated 1MDB transactions, focusing on Swiss private bank , which committed serious breaches ofmoney laundering in its dealings with 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singaporeis reportedlyinvestigating several banks for violating anti-money laundering rules in theirtransactions with 1MDB.