- 1MDB is one of the biggest financial scandals of all-time.
- A financial fraud involving the Malaysian state-owned investment fund, it involved missing billions, Hollywood celebrities and the downfall of the Malaysian prime minister.
- We broke down all the major events for you that stretched all the way back to 2009.
It’s one of the greatest scandals in financial history. "1MDB" started out as a government plan to fund infrastructure projects in Malaysia but turned into an alleged swindle to tune of more than $3 billion. It brought down Malaysia’s prime minister, the prime suspect is still on the run, and Goldman Sachs might be on the hook for crushing fines.
US and Malaysian authorities, as well as those in the UK, Australia and Singapore, among others, are continuing to figure out just what happened, and who is responsible. Malaysia this week filed the first criminal charges for Goldman Sachs and a few ex-bank and fund employees, while lawsuits are still being filed over billions in missing cash. Goldman Sachs says it is cooperating with authorities and will contest the charges.
Somehow actor Leonardo DiCaprio, model Miranda Kerr, and the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat got dragged into the mess, too.
This is the history of 1MDB and the characters that made it.
1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, was founded in 2009 just four months after Najib Razak became Prime Minister of Malaysia. Ensnared in the scandal, he later lost reelection and was charged with abuse of power and criminal breach of trust in relation to SRC International, a former 1MDB unit. Najib pleaded not guilty charges and has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.
The fund was originally set up to finance infrastructure and other economy-linked deals in Malaysia. But the fund veered into lavish spending, producing films such as “The Wolf of Wall Street” and buying casinos, champagne and “Dustheads,” a painting by US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014, the US Department of Justice has alleged. Razak has consistently denied wrongdoing. The scandal spreads across a number of companies and financial institutions with eye-watering sums involved.
AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File
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