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Malaysia in transition

Malaysia's 1MDB and ex-unit sue to recover $23bn in assets

Finance ministry says 22 civil suits target people and entities 'unjustly enriched'

Unnamed individuals and entities face new civil suits over the 1MDB scandal that engulfed the government of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -- Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its former unit SRC International have filed 22 civil suits seeking to recover more than $23 billion in assets from entities and people allegedly involved in defrauding the firms, the finance ministry said on Monday.

Malaysia and U.S. investigators say at least $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, in a wide-ranging scandal that has implicated high-level officials, banks and financial institutions around the world.

1MDB has filed six suits against 25 people and nine entities, including two foreign financial institutions, for breach of contract, fraud, conspiracy, negligence, and other wrongdoing, the finance ministry said in a statement.

Sixteen suits were filed by SRC against 15 people and eight entities for similar offences, the ministry said, without naming any of the entities or individuals involved.

"1MDB and SRC contend that these entities and/or individuals have been unjustly enriched by wrongfully receiving monies from 1MDB or SRC," it said.

The lawsuits come after Malaysia recovered nearly $5 billion in assets following deals with U.S. firm Goldman Sachs, Malaysian banking group AmBank, and audit firm Deloitte to settle probes related to 1MDB.

At least six countries are investigating alleged graft and money laundering at 1MDB, co-founded in 2009 by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Last year, Najib was found guilty of corruption and money laundering over the transfer of millions of dollars linked to SRC International into his AmBank accounts between 2014 and 2015. He denies wrongdoing and is appealing the verdict.

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