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"In total, 1MDB officials allegedly laundered more than $4.5 billion in funds through a complex web of opaque transactions and fraudulent shell companies with bank accounts in countries ranging from Switzerland and Singapore to Luxembourg and the United States", Sessions said.

Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, has not given up on trying to obtain immunity from the Malaysian government, said former finance minister Daim Zainuddin in a report published on Wednesday (Oct 31).

The other banker has been arrested, while Mr Low remains at large.

Low and Leissner were also caught in intercepted online chats in 2014 discussing how to "suck up" to an 1MDB official, and planning to send "cakes" to a woman they believed was the wife of another government official, per court docs.

The investment bank, which generated about $600m in fees for its work with 1MDB, has in the past repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said it was cooperating with authorities.

These are the first U.S. criminal charges in the case which spawned investigations around the world.

The set of charges represent the first criminal prosecutions in the USA arising from the epic corruption scandal at the state investment fund known as 1MDB.

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He has since been charged with corruption, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust in Malaysia. Both deny any wrongdoing.

While U.S. prosecutors have previously filed civil asset forfeiture suits for assets allegedly bought with some of the stolen funds, these are the first criminal charges the Justice Department has brought against individuals in the case under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law targeting official bribery overseas. Goldman Sachs, which the indictment says raised about $6.5 billion through bond offerings for the fund, also did not immediately comment.

Prosecutors say Low, Ng, and Leissner conspired to launder the proceeds of fraud involving 1MDB through the US financial system.

A family friend of Mr Najib, Mr Low had no official role at 1MDB but had considerable influence over its dealings and was often in contact with Mr Najib, according to USA authorities. He has called the Malaysian charges political.

Leissner yesterday pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials and circumventing Goldman's internal accounting controls, according to prosecutors.

The other, Tim Leissner, has pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to forfeit just under 44 million dollars. It was not immediately clear if Ng had a lawyer. Malaysian authorities have revoked his passport and issued an arrest warrant for him, and have also applied for an Interpol red notice seeking assistance from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong.


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