Were These NYC Properties Bought WIth Dirty Money?
The US government has moved to seize four Manhattan condos and a stake in the Park Lane Hotel that have been connected to a $3.5B money-laundering scheme involving a Malaysian investment fund.
According to the filed complaint, the government believes that billions of dollars, originally meant to benefit Malaysian citizens, were misappropriated to buy artwork, a private jet and real estate in both NYC and Beverly Hills, The Real Deal reports.
Malaysian businessman Jho Low, The Wolf of Wall Street producer (and stepson to the Malaysian prime minister) Riza Aziz, and International Petroleum Investment Co head Khadem Al Qubaisi are being investigated by prosecutors.
The Manhattan portfolio under investigation—worth $350M—includes a full-floor penthouse at Walker Tower, which was purchased for $50.9M in 2014, a penthouse at the Time Warner Center (right, worth $30.55M), a Park Laurel penthouse (worth $33.5M) and a condo at 118 Greene St, which was purchased in 2014 for $13.8M.
Also being investigated is a $200M stake in the Witkoff Group’s Park Lane Hotel (left). The investigation notes Low was part of the investor group that purchased the hotel in 2013 for $654.3M.
When questioned, Jho has insisted that, while he worked as a consultant for the fund, he broke no laws. Witkoff Group chairman and CEO Steve Witkoff told the Wall Street Journal that he’s cooperating with the government in the investigation.
The fund—which hasn’t yet been named as a party in the suit—and the Malaysian prime minister have also stated that they will cooperate. [TRD]