Jho Low maintains innocence after United States indictment

Jho Low contacted Mahathir's adviser last week to seek immunity: Report

The criminal indictment, unsealed in NY, also charged Jho Low and Ng Chong Hwa, a former Goldman Sachs banker also known as Roger Ng, with paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.

It was also announced Thursday that Tim Leissner, a former Goldman partner in Asia, has pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, prosecutors said.

According to the justice department, Low, Ng, Leissner and other conspirators regularly bribed government officials in order to maintain Goldman's lucrative contracts with 1MDB.

A lawyer for Leissner could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ng was also charged with conspiring to violate the internal controls at Goldman Sachs, which underwrote more than US$6 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB.

The DOJ said Low remains at large. Prosecutors charge that Malaysian officials stole billions from the fund to buy property, art and other items including investments in movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street.

The DOJ alleged the bond proceeds were transferred to MO1 close relative were later used by the relative's USA motion picture company to assist in the production of the film "The Wolf of Wall Street". "Low simply asks that the public keep an open mind regarding this case until all of the evidence comes to light, which he believes will vindicate him", a spokesman for Low, through his legal team, said in a statement on Thursday in response to the indictment. Such payments were "known to Ng, Leissner and other employees" of the bank, according to prosecutors. He has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7 million.

"We would like to find him first, but it doesn't matter who gets him because we will get access to him too", he said, commenting on the global cooperation against the alleged culprit behind the 1MDB financial scandal. The pilfered funds were used on a "lavish spending spree", the attorney general said, including a $265 million yacht and a $100 million investment in the music label EMI.

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The US Justice Department alleges a total of US$4.5 billion was laundered from 1MDB in a scandal that rocked the Southeast Asian nation and which was a key factor in former Prime Minister Najib Razak's removal from office earlier this year.

The fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, was set up in 2009 to promote economic development.

Low has chafed over criticism of his partying and playboy lifestyle and vehemently objected to the recently published book "Billion Dollar Whale", which says it tells the inside story of Low and 1MDB.

"As noted in the indictment today, Mr".

"Mr Low held no formal position at 1MDB, nor was he ever employed by Goldman Sachs, or the governments of Malaysia or Abu Dhabi". A parliamentary inquiry found many irregularities but had no mandate to prosecute.

Former leader Mahathir Mohamad, outraged over the scandal, came out of retirement and the opposition united behind him in the national elections, leading to Najib's ouster in May.

An investigation by the Journal revealed millions linked to the fund ended up in Najib's personal bank accounts. The corruption scandal involving the fund had already upended Malaysian politics.

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