According to the DOJ, from 2009 to 2014, as 1MDB raised money to fund projects, billions of dollars were misappropriated and diverted from 1MDB, including funds raised through three bond transactions (“Project Magnolia,” “Project Maximus,” and “Project Catalyze”) underwritten by the Institution.
The bond transactions raised approximately $6.5 billion for 1MDB and $600 million in fees and revenue for the Institution. Of the funds raised, more than $2.7 billion was allegedly misappropriated by Low, Ng, Leissner, and others who paid bribes and kickbacks to government officials to obtain and retain business for the benefit of the Institution, and retained funds for their personal benefit. Low, Ng, and Leissner laundered the proceeds of the scheme through the U.S. financial system by purchasing, among other things, luxury residential real estate and artwork, and funding major Hollywood films.
Ng, Leissner, and others at the Institution used Low’s close relationships with high-ranking government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to obtain and retain business. Ng continued to work with Low after attempts to make Low a formal client of the Institution failed due to concerns about Low’s source of wealth. Ng, Leissner, and others circumvented internal accounting protocols at the Institution in connection with 1MDB business, and concealed Low’s involvement from the institution’s compliance function and legal department.