After successfully recouping more than $3 billion from Goldman Sachs Group and other firms, Malaysia's 1MDB is casting a wider net.
The state-owned investment fund is suing companies, including J.P. Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, in an effort to recover assets worth more than $23 billion that the country says are linked to the fund. 1MDB and a former unit filed a combined 22 civil suits against entities and individuals for various alleged wrongdoings including fraud and conspiracy to defraud the fund, the Finance Ministry said Monday.
The suits are the latest twist in Malaysia's continuing effort to recover billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB by people connected to the country's former prime minister. For much of the past decade, authorities have tried to track funds that allegedly flowed from 1MDB into high-end art and real estate, a super yacht and, ironically, the hit Hollywood movie "The Wolf of Wall Street," chronicling an earlier era of financial crimes.
In a move that broadens the dragnet, at least two suits were filed in London, according to public records. Deutsche Bank's Singapore branch faces a lawsuit, while 1MDB separately sued Citigroup's head of commodities research Ed Morse alleging professional negligence, the filing shows.
J.P. Morgan declined to comment, while Deutsche said it hasn't been served any papers on 1MDB and isn't aware of any basis for a legitimate claim. New York-based Mr. Morse declined to comment.
The Malaysian government has had a string of successes in its recovery efforts, the most high-profile coming last year when Goldman Sachs reached a $3.9 billion pact to resolve probes into the Wall Street giant's role in the scheme. Goldman's overall tab for additional settlements with authorities in the U.S., U.K. and Hong Kong swelled to more than $5 billion.
In March, Deloitte PLT agreed to a 324 million Malaysian ringgit ($80 million) settlement with the Malaysian government to resolve all claims related to the firm's audit of 1MDB and its former unit SRC between 2011 and 2014. The deal also came less than a week after Malaysian lender AMMB Holdings agreed to a $699 million settlement over its role in dealings linked to 1MDB.
"The Government's recovery efforts are now focused on pursuing other wrongdoers who have caused losses to 1MDB and or SRC during the execution of their duties, as parties directly or indirectly involved in 1MDB and or SRC's various operations and transactions," Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said in a statement.
The specific allegations against Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan weren't immediately clear. According to court documents, 1MDB is seeking $1.1 billion from the German bank and $800 million from the U.S. firm.
Deutsche Bank helped 1MDB raise more than $1 billion in 2014. J.P. Morgan in 2017 was reprimanded by Swiss regulators over its handling of money transfers related to 1MDB in previous years.