LONDON: One of those described in the civil forfeiture suit of the US Department of Justice has been identified as Jasmine Loo, a former chief counsel for 1MDB.
She was also 1MDB’s liaison to Goldman Sachs Group Inc, the global bank that helped it raise US$6 billion, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Quoting from documents filed by the DoJ, the report said after one of the big sales led by Goldman Sachs, US$5 million of the cash raised for 1MDB travelled through shell companies and allegedly ended up in her Swiss bank account.
“The US Government refers to the official only as ‘1MDB Officer 3.’ According to people familiar with the matter, she is Jasmine Loo Ai Swan — a Malaysian who studied law in the UK and worked for a Malaysian developer and an oil firm before joining 1MDB,” according to the Bloomberg report.
The US does not accuse Loo or anyone else of crimes in its complaints, which instead seek to seize assets the Government says were “unlawfully misappropriated” from the fund.
In 2015, Bank Negara Malaysia posted a notice on its website saying that Loo and another former 1MDB official were wanted for questioning.
Bloomberg said Loo did not respond to requests for comment placed over several months in Malaysia and at an apartment she owns in New York’s Flatiron district.
“While the amount is modest compared with others in the sweeping multiyear scheme, the alleged US$5 million transfer is notable. The recipient was not only a lawyer and the fund’s point person with Goldman Sachs, but is also the only person at 1MDB whom the Justice Department singled out as having received a payment.”
That money transfer, the US Government says, was one of dozens of illicit payments in a scheme controlled by Jho Low that ultimately drained as much as US$3.5 billion from 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The Bloomberg report gives some details about Loo’s early career and how the lawyer teamed up with Jho Low.
It talks about the three bond deals that Goldman brokered and the role played by Loo and others and how some of the funds were allegedly diverted into individual accounts or accounts of shell companies, including that of the man described as “Malaysian Official 1”.
For instance, it says, the first bond sale raised US$1.56 billion for 1MDB. More than half was earmarked to buy a power-production company.
“According to the offering circular presented by Goldman, the remaining US$744 million was designated for “general corporate purposes (which may include future acquisitions).”
“It didn’t turn out that way. About US$577 million was siphoned off to a shell company controlled by an ally of Jho Low, prosecutors say.”
After the second fundraiser, another US$790 million allegedly went to the shell company controlled by Low’s associate.
About US$1.26 billion was allegedly siphoned off into a new shell company set up by the Jho Low associate from the third and largest bond deal, a US$2.7 billion sale, according to the report. – FMT