(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to seize assets including real estate, art and proceeds from the "Wolf of Wall Street" movie that it says were illegally acquired through money diverted from the embattled Malaysian development fund known as 1MDB.
Funds diverted from 1MDB were used for the personal benefit of multiple individuals including public officials and their relatives and associates to purchase luxury real estate in the U.S., pay gambling expenses at Las Vegas casinos and acquire more than $200 million in artwork, the Justice Department said in a court filing Wednesday in federal court in California.
"1MDB maintained no interest in these assets and saw no returns on these investments," the government said.
The Malaysia fund is at the center of several international investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering by public officials. Prosecutors in at least four countries -- Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States -- are looking into money flows from the investment vehicle, which was established for national development.
Among the questions asked by some international authorities is whether politically connected individuals in Kuala Lumpur may have benefited financially from the fund, whose advisory board was headed by Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak. Both 1MDB and the prime minister have denied wrongdoing.
A spokesman for 1MDB didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment sent by email.
To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at [email protected] ;Tom Schoenberg in Washington at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at [email protected] Jeffrey D Grocott