|1Malaysia Development Bhd|
|Key People||Najib Razak, former prime minister of Malaysia and 1MDB's chairman|
1MDB, or 1Malaysia Development Bhd, was a Malaysian, state-owned investment fund founded in 2009 aimed at promoting development in the country. It raised $8 billion in bond sales but was plunged into international investigations of the fund and its participating banks: Goldman Sachs and Deutche Bank. Much of the money raised for the fund has gone missing, leading to investigations in Malaysia, United States and Europe.
The fund was created in 2009 by then Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak, who served as 1MDB's chairman.
The US Department of Justice said its investigation into the matter revealed that $4.5 billion of the funds were stolen. Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor were arrested along with several close associates on July 2, 2019.
Leaked information from investigators alleged that Najib had siphoned off $713 million just ahead of the 2013 election, allegedly for political payoffs, credit card bills and shopping for his wife. Najib denies the allegations.
The funds was run in part by Malaysian businessman and consultant, Jho Low, who allegedly bankrolled billions in expenditures for properties in Beverly Hills and New York, lavish parties and gifts to celebrities.
In 2015, The Wall Street Journal and British journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown were given 227,000 documents detailing the fraud. The Malaysian anti-corruption agency MACC, began its investigation when Najib fired the attorney general, Abdul Gani, who had been leading the investigation, and deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin as well as four other ministers. The MACC offices were raided and four officials were arrested. Najib's appointed attorney general cleared him of all charges in 2016.
Mahathir Mohamed, former prime minister, ran against Najib and won in the May 2018 election. He immediately launched an investigation seizing jewelry valued at $273 million. In July 2019, Najib and his wife were arrested in connection with the mission money that went into his personal bank account. He has 25 charges levied against him ranging from bribery to transferring money to associates. Rosmah Najib was arrested and charged with 17 counts of money laundering.
Low has not yet been found by Malaysian authorities.
Goldman Sachs was heavily involved in 1MDB, helping sell more than $6 billion in bonds to investors. Two former Goldman Sachs executives connected to the case were barred from working in the banking industry in March 2019 . Tim Leissner, a Goldman banker in Asia, pleaded guilty in a US federal investigation and was ordered to forfeit $44 million and pay a fine of $1.4 million. Roger Ng, another Goldman executive, was charged in the US with participating in money laundering and bribery.
In July 2019, Deutsche Bank came under scrutiny.
- How Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal Shook the Financial World. Bloomberg.
- Deutsche Bank 'faces US investigation' over work for Malaysia's 1MDB fund. Guardian.
- Former Malaysian PM Najib arrested in $4.5bn 1MDB probe. Guardian.
- 1MDB scandal explained: a tale of Malaysia's missing billions. Guardian.