PETALING JAYA: A Melbourne-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called for Australian model Miranda Kerr to return jewellery worth millions which the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) claims was purchased with funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, The Guardian reported.
The NGO, Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia in Australia (SABM), said their message to Kerr did not imply any allegation of wrongdoing on her part, but just that she needed to “hand over all jewellery gifted to her”.
On June 15, in court filings in California, the DoJ sought to seize US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) in assets including art works, jewellery, a yacht worth worth US$165 million, and film rights purchased with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.
The assets named in the applications included the film rights to two comedies, “Dumb and Dumber To” starring Jim Carrey and “Daddy’s Home” with Will Ferrell.
The DoJ suit also said Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) had purchased a 22-carat pink diamond necklace worth US$27.3 million for the “wife of Malaysian Official No. 1” (MO1), as well as jewellery worth US$10 million for Kerr, using the same source of funds.
The DoJ charged that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion (RM19 billion) belonging to 1MDB had been diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.
According to US prosecutors, Jho Low had presented the jewellery to Kerr, whom he is said to have dated in 2014.
The DoJ suit detailed how Jho Low had gifted a 11.72-carat heart-shaped diamond to Kerr as a Valentine’s Day present. He had also given her a US$1.9 million matching diamond jewellery while the two were on board his US$165 million yacht, Equanimity, between late July and early August 2014.
SABM, which, according to its Facebook page, advocates remedies to social, economic and political issues plaguing Malaysians, said Kerr must follow the example of US actor Leonardo DiCaprio who has returned an Oscar won by Marlon Brando to the DoJ following a similar suit filed last July.
Jho Low had given the Oscar statuette as a birthday present to DiCaprio in November 2012, during a birthday party in Las Vegas where they were joined by Red Granite Pictures co-founders Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland. Riza is the stepson of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Red Granite Pictures had bankrolled the production of the Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese film “Wolf of Wall Street”, which starred DiCaprio in the lead role.
According to The Guardian, at the time that Kerr was dating Jho Low, she was separated from her now ex-husband Orlando Bloom, who is famous for his role as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
She has since remarried, to Evan Spiegel, who is the co-founder of social media platform Snapchat.