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1MDB-linked US$51 million Manhattan penthouse to be put on sale

(PHOTO: REUTERS/Olivia Harris)

By Edvard Pettersson

(Bloomberg) -- A US$51 million penthouse in Manhattan’s Walker Tower, allegedly bought with money siphoned from Malaysia’s 1MDB state fund, will be put on the market.

U.S. prosecutors and lawyers representing the trust that owns the property on Tuesday asked a federal judge in Los Angeles overseeing a civil forfeiture lawsuit to let them move forward with selling it.

The Justice Department claims the penthouse was bought in 2014 by Khadem Abdulla al Qubaisi, a former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s government-owned International Petroleum Investment Co.

Al Qubaisi recently was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Abu Dhabi, according to the Wall Street Journal. He and an accomplice were also ordered to pay $336 million, the Journal said.

Al Qubaisi, who is also the former chairman of restaurant and nightclub operator Hakkasan Group, received $473 million stolen from 1MDB in 2012, according to the Justice Department. He was aided by Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, the alleged mastermind of the scheme to steal billions of dollars from the Malaysian fund. Besides the Manhattan penthouse, al Qubaisi is said to have bought a $31 million mansion in Beverly Hills, California, with 1MDB money.

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