WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of
Justice is seeking to recover $300 million in additional assets
allegedly associated with the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal,
assets it has traced to an escrow account in the United Kingdom,
the agency said on Wednesday.
Malaysian and U.S. authorities estimate $4.5 billion was
stolen from 1MDB in an elaborate scheme that spanned the globe
and implicated high-level officials in the fund, former
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, executives at U.S. bank
Goldman Sachs, and others. Najib has denied wrongdoing.
In a complaint filed in the Central District of California
on Wednesday, the Justice Department said the $300 million was
traceable to a line of credit extended by Venezuela's state oil
company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. to Saudi's PetroSaudi Oil
Services in connection with an oil drilling venture.
The companies are already embroiled in a legal dispute over
the funds which the Malaysian high court has sought to freeze
with cooperation from the British authorities.
The Justice Department said it was also seeking four dozen
promotional movie posters that Riza Aziz, a Hollywood producer
and Razak's stepson, acquired with more than $4 million in funds
traceable to assets embezzled from 1MDB.
Prosecutors dropped money-laundering charges against Aziz in
May after reaching a deal in which he agreed to help authorities
recover 1MBD-related assets.
Wednesday's complaint brings the total value of assets the
United States has sought to recover in relation to the scandal
to $2.1 billion - the largest ever asset recovery action brought
by the agency. So far the United States has recovered or
assisted Malaysia in recovering nearly $1.1 billion in assets.
(Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by David Gregorio)