Jho Low Forfeits More than $100 M. in Assets, Including Warhol and Monet Artworks

The US Department of Justice has reached an agreement to recover more than $100 million in assets, including artworks by Andy Warhol and Claude Monet, linked to the 1MDB scandal.

The federal department’s press statement said the agreement was with Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, along with members of his family and trust entities that he established. The agreement resolves two civil forfeiture cases.

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These cases were brought against assets that Low and his family gained, allegedly by embezzling from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s sovereign investment development fund. The complaints, which spanned 2009 to 2015, alleged that more than $4.5 million in funds belonging to 1MDB were misappropriated by the senior officials at the organization and their associates, including Low. The misappropriation was allegedly done through international money laundering and bribery.

The DOJ said in a statement that the Warhol and the Monet were collectively worth $35 million. He and his associates will now turn over $67 million in cash and real estate properties.

A document filed in the United States District Court in the Central District of California on June 24 identified the Warhol’s was Colored Campbell’s Soup Can (Emerald Green), from 1965, and the Monet as Vétheuil au Soleil.

1MDB was established by Malaysia’s government to promote economic development in the country through foreign direct investment and international partnerships.

Last August, the US government filed a forfeiture complaint alleging that former 1MDB lawyer “Jasmine” Loo Ai Swan purchased the Pablo Picasso pencil drawing Trois femmes nues et buste d’homme (1969) from Christie’s in May 2014 for $1.38 million. To do so, the government said, she used misappropriated funds from a bond sale underwritten by Goldman Sachs.

Low was once known for placing high-profile winning bids on artworks at auction. Those works inlcuded Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Dustheads (1982), which he bought at Christie’s New York in 2013 for a then-record $43.5 million, and Monet’s Nymphéas (1906), which he at Sotheby’s London in 2014 for the equivalent of $53.9 million.

Other cases the US government has also filed linked to the 1MDB scandal involving art include van Gough’s La Maison de Arles, the €25.3 million in proceeds from the sale of Nympheas, the Picasso painting Nature Mortes Au Crane de Taureau, Basquiat’s Redman One and Self-Portrait, Warhol’s Round Jackie, Diane Arbus’s Boy With the Toy Hand Grenade, as well as the Monet painting Saint Georges Majeur.

Source: artnews.com

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