The man who Malaysian fugitive Jho Low had allegedly paid to influence investigations into the 1MDB state fund scandal in the U.S., pleaded guilty yesterday to illegally acting on behalf of a foreign national.
American venture capitalist Elliott Broidy, 63, who was also a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump, was accused of receiving US$8 million from Low in 2017 to influence the U.S. Department of Justice’s probe into alleged misappropriation of money from the Malaysian state fund that former prime minister Najib Razak founded.
Broidy yesterday admitted to conspiring with a foreign national to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, at the district court in Washington. Under FARA, people who lobby the U.S. government for foreign entities need to register with the country’s Justice Department, which Broidy said he did not do.
“You knew it was unlawful to fail to register with the attorney general?” District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had asked Broidy during the hearing, to which he replied: “Yes, your honour.”
The former Trump fundraiser, who also reportedly arranged a golf date with Najib, had agreed to forfeit US$6.6 million as part of his plea deal and in the hopes that his sentence could be reduced.
Broidy faces up to five years’ jail and will return to court in February for his sentencing hearing.
The Department of Justice had estimated that US$4.5 billion worth of funds was embezzled from 1MDB in an elaborate scheme traced across the globe. Some of that money had gone into producing the Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo Dicaprio.
Back in Malaysia, Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor are currently on trial for the 1MDB scandal. Rosmah, famed for her love of Birkin bags and expensive watches, will return to court Nov. 2 over bribery charges involving a solar energy project in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, we still don’t know where Jho Low is.
Correction: This story has been corrected to say that Broidy had admitted to being paid to influence – not dissuade – 1MDB investigations in the U.S.
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