Also unsealed yesterday in federal court in the Eastern District of NY was the guilty plea of Tim Leissner, the former South-east Asia Chairman and participating managing director of the Financial Institution, to a two-count criminal information charging Leissner with conspiring to launder money and conspiring to violate the FCPA by both paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials and circumventing the internal accounting controls of the Financial Institution while he was employed by it. It was not known who was representing Mr. Ng.
Mr Low has previously denied charges filed in Malaysia, adding that it would be "impossible" for him to receive a fair trial there.
Jho Low: Malaysian financier arrested in the US faces charges of laundering billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB and conspiring to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.
It was also announced Thursday that Tim Leissner, a former Goldman partner in Asia, has pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, prosecutors said. Some of the laundered funds were then allegedly used to pay bribes to obtain business for Goldman.
The criminal charges are the first to be brought by U.S. authorities over the vast, long-running scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
A friend of Najib's stepson Riza Aziz, Low had no official role at 1MDB but had considerable influence over its dealings and was often in contact with Najib, according to the Justice Department, U.S. authorities have said. He has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7 million (S$60.2 million).
James Haggerty, a spokesman for Low, said in an e-mailed statement that Low "maintains his innocence". Najib chaired its advisory board and as finance minister held veto power over its activities. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called the scandal "kleptocracy at its worst".
The Telegraph has contacted lawyers for Mr Low, who has been at large since July, and Mr Leissner but has not yet received a response. Working with the FBI, Indonesian authorities seized Low's $250 million luxury yacht Equanimity off Bali in February and Malaysia's government is now auctioning it. Low, who previously said he did consulting work for 1MDB, is portrayed by some global investigators as the mastermind behind some of the schemes involving missing funds.
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Former leader Mahathir Mohamad, outraged over the scandal, came out of retirement and the opposition united behind him in the national elections, leading to Najib's ouster in May. Numerous charges - multiple counts of corruption, money laundering and criminal breach of trust - are linked to 1MDB. Police have also seized hundreds of luxury handbags, jewelry and cash - worth more than $266 million - during raids on apartments linked to Najib's family. Najib accuses the new administration of seeking political vengeance and has vowed to clear his name.