Fine Art Linked to 1MDB Seized in Switzerland

1MDB, van Gogh, Monet, freeport, asset seizure

The corruption and money-laundering allegations surrounding 1MDB is widening. Several pieces of fine art, including a van Gogh and two Monets, allegedly bought with Malaysian state funds were seized from a freeport in Geneva.

American officials are seeking to confiscate more than $1 billion of assets allegedly diverted from 1MDB. Authorities in several countries allege that funds passed through a complicated web of financial transactions to ultimately end up with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and close associates.

U.S. authorities apparently seized assets in Switzerland as well, as Switzerland’s prosecutor confirmed to Swiss newspaper «Neue Luzerner Zeitung» (in German) on Thursday.

Several paintings including works by Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet were ordered seized by U.S. officials, which Swiss authorities carried out carried out the same day, according to the Swiss prosecutor.

Van Gogh and Monets in Complaints

The art works are alleged to have been bought with 1MDB money, with at least some of them ending up behind a Geneva freeport. The secretive warehouses are considered one of the last bastions of secrecy in Switzerland.

Among the works reportedly seized by Swiss officials is «La maison de Vincent à Arles», a pen-and-drawing by van Gogh originally from a letter to his brother, and two paintings by impressionist Monet, including «Nympheas avec Reflets de Hautes Herbes».

The Geneva freeport wasn’t immediately available for comment to the newspaper.

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