Singapore orders return of first batch of pilfered 1MDB money

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SINGAPORE (Sept 10): Singapore ordered millions of dollars misappropriated from the beleaguered 1MDB to be returned to Malaysia, the first time the city-state has repatriated assets to its neighbor following a globe-spanning probe.

The funds in various currencies total about S$15.3 million ($11.1 million) and are being transferred to a special 1MDB recovery bank account in Kuala Lumpur, according to an emailed statement Monday from Tan Rajah & Cheah, a Singapore law firm.

“Efforts to recover other unlawfully misappropriated assets are ongoing,” said Tan Rajah & Cheah, which is advising the Malaysia government and 1Malaysia Development Bhd. on recovery efforts. The so-called disposal orders for the repatriation were handed down by the Singapore State Courts, according to the statement.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said he is seeking to claw back $4.5 billion potentially lost from 1MDB.

Malaysian investigators are collecting information with cooperation from foreign authorities including the U.S. and Singapore to trace complex transactions that have spawned investigations in at least 10 countries.

Mahathir has said he wants the return of a $35 million Bombardier Global 5000 jet parked in Singapore. The plane belongs to financier Low Taek Jho, described by investigators as a key character in the probe. Low has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Singapore said last month it hadn’t received a formal request from Malaysia for the return of the jet.