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UPDATE 1-Former Justice Dept worker pleads guilty over lying about lobbying related to 1MDB scandal


A former Justice Department employee on Friday pleaded guilty to conspiring to deceive U.S. banks about millions of dollars in foreign lobbying funds, after he facilitated financing a lobbying campaign related to the U.S. investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

The Justice Department said in a statement that the alleged architect of the 1MDB scheme had hired George Higginbotham, who was then a senior congressional affairs specialist at the Justice Department, to help transfer tens of millions of dollars from foreign bank accounts to the United States. Higginbotham said he had conspired to make false statements to banks about the source and purpose of the funds and also deceived banks with fake loan and consulting documents.

The money he transferred was then used in a lobbying campaign to resolve civil and criminal matters related to the department's investigation into the scheme to embezzle billions of dollars from 1MDB, Malaysia's state fund. Higginbotham did not play a role in the investigation and failed to infuence any aspect of it, the Justice Department said.

An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2014, the Justice Department has alleged. Earlier this month, U.S. prosecutors unveiled criminal charges against two former Goldman Sachs bankers tied to the massive theft. (Reporting by Lisa Lambert; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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