1MDB Is a Nutty Story. Here’s Why

Sometimes the real world really is stranger than fiction.

By Harry Cassin and cross-posted from The FCPA Blog

The former chairman of Goldman Sachs in Southeast Asia, Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty yesterday to FCPA and money laundering conspiracies in connection with a plot to loot the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Here are eight odd facts about the 1MDB investigation.

1. The alleged mastermind is a 36-year old fugitive.

Low Taek Jho a.k.a. Jho Low, pictured above, is a Malaysian who’s sought by U.S., Swiss, Singaporean, and Malaysian authorities.

He may be traveling on a passport from the Caribbean islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Low has also supposedly been seen in Phuket, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Shanghai since the 1MDB scandal broke.

He was supposedly last seen in China, but local authorities deny he’s there.

2. Spies are involved.

Eight former agents from Malaysia’s foreign intelligence agency were arrested in August for allegedly stealing $12 million in government funds possibly related to 1MDB.

The agents worked for the Malaysian External Intelligence Organization or MEIO.

3. Tim Leissner is married to fashion designer and reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons.

Simmons’ television show, “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane,” aired from 2007 to 2011 on the Style Network. This picture shows Leissner and Simmons with Malaysian ex-PM Najib Razak.

The picture was posted on Simmons’ Instagram (@kimoraleesimmons) on September 22, 2013.

She has 1.6 million followers on Instagram.

4. Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib Razak and his wife have both been charged with laundering 1MDB money and their homes were raided.

The head of Malaysia’s commercial crime unit said the raids resulted in the “biggest seizure in Malaysian history.”

Police found cash in 26 currencies with a total value of $28.6 million.

They confiscated 457 handbags, including Hermes bags that alone are worth $12 million.

Also seized were 423 watches valued at $19 million, police said, along with 234 sunglasses worth $93,000.

Twelve thousand pieces of jewelry were found in 25 bags. Included were 1,400 necklaces, 2,200 rings, 2,100 bangles, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras, police said. The jewelry could be worth around $180 million

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