A Malaysian fugitive might have paid Chris Christie and a Trump lawyer with laundered funds

The Justice Department is investigating whether former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, President Donald Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz, and others were paid with laundered funds by a Malaysian fugitive.

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The Justice Department is investigating whether former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz, and others were paid with laundered funds by a Malaysian fugitive.
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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

  • The Justice Department is investigating whether former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz, and others were paid by a Malaysian fugitive with laundered funds.
  • Christie and Kasowitz are part of a legal team for Jho Low, a fugitive Malaysian businessman whom the US Justice Department is investigating in connection with the alleged embezzlement of $4.5 billion from a Malaysian fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
  • There’s no definitive evidence that any person who received payments was aware the money could’ve come from the ill-gotten funds.

The Justice Department is investigating whether former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, and others with ties to the Republican Party were paid by a Malaysian fugitive with laundered funds.

Christie and Kasowitz are part of a legal team for Jho Low, a fugitive Malaysian businessman who, according to US court filings, played a key role in the alleged embezzlement of $4.5 billion from a Malaysian fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Justice Department is now reportedly looking into whether Low paid for legal services by laundering money that was embezzled through two associates. Low’s access to the global financial system has been severely limited since 2016, which has raised suspicions about how he has paid for an array of expenses.

At present, there’s no definitive evidence that any person who received payments was aware the money could have come from the funds Low is alleged to have embezzled, according to The Journal.

Civil lawsuits have been filed by the Justice Department in California federal court against Low to recover assets the Justice Department alleges he purchased with the embezzled funds, including mansions, artwork, and a yacht. The Justice Department is also pursuing a criminal investigation against Low, The Journal said.

Christie is representing Low in the asset-forfeiture cases in California, while Kasowitz is representing the fugitive Malaysian financier in Justice Department matters.

Low has also retained the services of the lawyer Bobby Burchfield, who has served as an outside ethics adviser for the Trump administration. Ed Rogers, the Republican lobbyist based in Washington, is also reportedly consulting Low on his legal woes.

Elliott Broidy, a Republican fundraiser with close ties to the Trump administration, is consulting Low, too, according to the report. Broidy was brought into Low’s services by Pras Michel, a founding member of the Fugees hip-hop group, who may have been one of the intermediaries who helped Low make payments.

The Justice Department is also investigating whether Broidy attempted to sell his influence in the Trump administration to the Malaysian and Chinese governments.

Low is closely linked to former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who’s facing legal troubles of his own after being arrested in Kuala Lumpur in July. Najib pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in relation to the broad investigation surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Bhd fund.