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Luxury jet linked to Malaysian graft scandal in Singapore

Singapore - A jet allegedly bought with money stolen from a Malaysian state fund is in Singapore, police said Wednesday, as Kuala Lumpur seeks to claw back assets linked to the graft scandal.

Malaysia's government has launched investigations into allegations former premier Najib Razak and his cronies looted billions of dollars from the fund, 1MDB.

    Last week a luxury yacht allegedly bought by a playboy financier at the centre of the controversy was returned to Malaysia from Indonesia, and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said authorities are now seeking to repossess his $35 million jet.

    Businessman Low Taek Jho, who was a key adviser to 1MDB, is accused of having bought both the $250 million yacht and the Bombardier Global 5000 jet with money stolen from 1MDB.

    Singapore police said in a statement that "an aircraft that is the subject of ongoing 1MDB-related investigations is parked at Seletar Airport," referring to an airport that caters to private jets.

    However it added that the city-state had not "received any formal request from the Malaysian authorities seeking the return of the aircraft".

    The jet is believed to currently be housed in a hangar belonging to a firm that does maintenance and repair works, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

    Malaysian authorities have said they want to arrest Low, but his current whereabouts are unknown.

    Singapore is one of several countries -- including the United States and Switzerland -- which have launched investigations into the use of their financial systems to launder money believed to have been siphoned from the fund.

    The corruption allegations swirling around Najib were a major factor in a shock election loss in May that toppled his coalition, which had ruled Malaysia since 1957.

    Najib has since been charged with corruption and money laundering over the scandal. He has denied the charges and is out on bail.

Published : August 15, 2018

By : AFP