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Malaysia will cooperate with 'lawful investigations' of IMDB, Najib's office says

Singapore uncovers lapses in banks tied to 1MDB scandal

Malaysia will cooperate fully with any lawful investigation of its companies or citizens, Prime Minister Najib Razak's spokesman said on Thursday after the U.S. Justice Department filed lawsuits linked to scandal-ridden state fund 1MDB.

U.S. prosecutors sued on Wednesday to seize more than $1 billion in assets they said were tied to an international scheme to launder money stolen from the Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

"As the Prime Minister has always maintained, if any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception," Najib's spokesman Tengku Sariffuddin said in a statement.

In a separate statement, 1MDB said it was not a party to the civil suit, did not have any assets in the United States and had not benefited from the transactions described in the civil suit.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits on Wednesday seeking to seize dozens of properties tied to 1MDB, saying that over $3.5 billion was misappropriated from the institution.

The lawsuits, filed in Los Angeles, seek to seize assets "involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB".

The lawsuits said the alleged offences were committed over a four-year period and involved multiple individuals, including Malaysian officials and their associates, who conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB.

None of the lawsuits named Prime Minister Najib.

But they named Riza Aziz, his step-son, as a "relevant individual" in the case. They also named Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, and Abu Dhabi government officials Khadem al-Qubaisi and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny.

The U.S. lawsuits said funds misappropriated from 1MDB were transferred to the co-founder of Petrosaudi, a company that had a joint venture with 1MDB, and thereafter to a high-ranking official in the Malaysian government it identified only as "Malaysian Official One".

The assets involved in the case include penthouses, mansions, artwork and even a private jet.

"That misappropriation occurred in multiple phases over the course of several years," the lawsuits said.

"The misappropriated funds were then used to purchase the Defendant Asset, as well as to fund the co-conspirators' lavish lifestyles, including purchases of artwork and jewelry, the acquisition of luxury real estate, the payment of gambling expenses, and the hiring of musicians and celebrities to attend parties," it added.

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors on Wednesday said they were helping their counterparts in the U.S. on the investigation.

After, the DOJ's announcement, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said "The The OAG confirms that a U.S. mutual legal assistance request is being currently executed ... In the frame of its current criminal proceeding, the OAG has also sent mutual legal assistance requests to different countries, including the U.S.A."

The Swiss opened their own criminal proceedings in August 2015 against two formal officials of the fund on a string of corruption charges. Their investigation has since been extended to other officials and the BSI bank.

- CNBC contributed to this report.

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