Swiss Seize Paintings by Van Gogh and Monet in Malaysia Corruption Case
The Prime Minister and his associates allegedly misappropriated public money.
Swiss authorities seized a paintings by Vincent van Gogh and two by Claude Monet amid an investigation into Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.
The works were confiscated under a request submitted by the United States, which is among several nations investigating allegations of massive fraud at the Malaysian state fund 1MDB, the Guardian reported.
Ingrid Reyser, a spokesperson for the Swiss justice ministry, reportedly confirmed the seizure in an email to the French press agency AFP. “The operation is over and we confiscated three paintings,” she wrote, but declined to comment on where the paintings were seized from, or name who was involved.
Last week the US justice department announced the planned seizure of $1 billion in assets associated with 1MDB funds. According to Courthouse News Van Gogh’s La Maison de Vincent a Arles (1888), and Saint-Georges Majeur, and Monet’s Nympheas aver Reflets de Hautes Herbes. La Maison de Vincent a Arles (1888) sold for $5.48 million at Christie’s New York in November 2013.
Authorities in the US, Switzerland, and Singapore are investigating claims of corruption, accusing Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak, his family, and his associates of misappropriating large sums of public money. The prime minister is increasingly under pressure over the developing scandal.
Ironically, the US authorities’ planned asset seizure also includes royalties from the Hollywood film the Wolf of Wall Street, a financial crime story directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The film was reportedly produced by a company owned by Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, and was allegedly financed with over $100 million syphoned from 1MDB according to the US DOJ.
Prime Minister Najib and 1MDM have denied any wrongdoing.
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