×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Switzerland, Singapore Seize Art, Property After FBI Moves Against Fund Linked to Red Granite

Authorities in Asia and Europe moved Thursday against assets — including artworks and real estate — wanted by the U.S. in connection with its lawsuits against 1MDB, the Malaysian state fund linked to the producer of “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Singapore’s Attorney General’s office said that a trio of Singaporean government bodies had Thursday seized $177 million (S$240 million) of assets in connection with the FBI lawsuits, which were filed in California a day earlier.

Half of the assets seized in Singapore belong to Jho Low, the flamboyant 33-year-old financier who is said to have advised Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and who has a special credit on “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Low is the owner of Good Star, a company which the FBI says was responsible for siphoning $1.03 billion of funds from 1MDB. The FBI alleges that Good Star laundered some $400 million of that money in the U.S., including as funding for Red Granite, the production company behind “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Red Granite says that, to its knowledge, none of the money it received “was in any way illegitimate.” For his part, Low has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has played down the extent of his connections with Razak.

In Singapore, Low’s assets include at least two upmarket apartments. One, bought in 2013, is a triplex that cost $31.5 million (S$42.9 million.) The assets were seized by Singapore’s Attorney General, the Commercial Affairs Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

In Switzerland, authorities seized paintings by Monet and Van Gogh believed to be linked to stolen 1MDB funds, local media reported.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss Federal Office of Justice told the Reuters news agency Thursday said that the paintings seized were “La maison de Vincent à Arles” by Van Gogh and “Saint-Georges Majeur and Nympheas avec Reflets de Hautes Herbes” by Monet.

“The operation is not over yet so we will not comment at the moment on the location of the paintings,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.

In Malaysia, the FBI’s actions have sparked sharply differing reactions. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed called for Malaysians to take to the streets in protest. At a news conference, Mohammed also called for a referendum on whether Razak should stay in office.

Formerly a close friend of Razak, but now a sword political enemy, Mohammed has attempted for several years to use the slow-burning 1MDB scandal to unseat Razak. But Razak has successfully resisted and used many instruments of government to slow and downplay probes within the country.

Malaysian Attorney, General Mohamed Apandi said Thursday that no evidence has yet been presented by any agency anywhere in the world that shows funds to have been misappropriated from 1MDB. He said he had “strong concerns at the insinuations and allegations” made against Razak.

Razak is not specifically named in the FBI documents. The FBI refers only to “Malaysian Official 1,” identifying him as a high-ranking government official who oversaw the fund and is a relative of Red Granite’s Riza Aziz. (Aziz is Razak’s step son.)

Razak stuck to a strictly legal approach on Thursday. “This is a civil action not a criminal action. Those involved would have to go through the court process in the U.S.,” he told local reporters.

More Biz

  • Nicholas Sparks

    Nicholas Sparks Apologizes, Explains Opposition to LGBT Club

    Romance writer Nicholas Sparks issued an apology on Monday for remarks he made in 2013 opposing the formation of an LGBT club at his Christian school. In an email published last week by the Daily Beast, Sparks faulted Saul Benjamin, who was then the headmaster of the Epiphany School of Global Studies, for pushing an [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8 Production

    'Game of Thrones,' Netflix VFX Among Those to Be Featured in SIGGRAPH Production Talks

    VFX pros behind the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the blockbuster film “Avengers: Endgame,” Pixar’s upcoming “Toy Story 4,” last year’s Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Netflix series, including “Stranger Things,” and more will give SIGGRAPH 2019 attendees a behind-the-scenes look at their work during the conference’s Production Sessions. There will even be a [...]

  • welcome home Apple Ad

    Cannes Lions Takes Place in Time of Change for Ad World

    The ad industry gathers June 17-21 for its annual celebration of commercials, marketing and creativity, the Cannes Lions in the French Riviera. It does so against a backdrop of ongoing and profound upheaval within the world of advertising. The share prices of all the major ad groups, such as WPP, Publicis and Omnicom, are down [...]

  • R&B Singer Ann Marie Signs With

    R&B Singer Ann Marie Signs With Interscope Records (EXCLUSIVE)

    Chicago-based R&B singer-songwriter Ann Marie, known for her hit “Secret” with YK Osiris, has signed with Interscope Records, the company announced exclusively to Variety today. “Ann Marie is the prototype for today’s artist,” says Nicole Wyskoarko, the label’s EVP of urban operations. “She’s developed and cultivated a dedicated fan base using the tools of today [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Branded Content Campaigns Help Ads Cut Through Clutter

    The business of advertising has changed from the days when an expensive 30-second spot was the be-all and end-all of a campaign, leading many commercials production companies and their directors to diversify. In an era of content overload, when it’s easier than ever for consumers to skip an ad or avoid it altogether, many advertisers [...]

  • Gloria Vanderbilt Dead at 95

    Gloria Vanderbilt Dies at 95

    Gloria Vanderbilt, a famous model and socialite who was often a subject of fascination in the worlds of fashion and media, has died at 95, according to a report on CNN, where her son, anchor Anderson Cooper, has worked for several years. From a young age, Vanderbilt led a tumultuous life, one marked by a [...]

  • Patrick Drahi

    Altice's Patrick Drahi to Acquire Sotheby's Auction House for $3.7 Billion

    Patrick Drahi, the owner of the telecom group Altice, is on track to purchase Sotheby’s, the high-profile auction house, for $3.7 billion. The acquisition would turn Sotheby’s into a privately owned concern after 31 years as a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange. Drahi said the acquisition had “no capital link with Altice [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content