DOJ probing whether Malaysian fugitive used laundered funds to pay Chris Christie, Trump lawyer: report

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian businessman paid a team of American lawyers, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and an attorney who represents President Trump, from tens of millions of dollars in laundered funds.

The DOJ is pursuing a criminal investigation into Jho Low, who has U.S. assets, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reported that the DOJ filed civil lawsuits in July 2016 and last year to recover assets from Low and others that were allegedly purchased with money embezzled from a Malaysian fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

{mosads}U.S. court filings have described Low as a central figure in an alleged scheme that embezzled $4.5 billion, according to the Journal, which noted that Malaysian authorities charged Low with money laundering this week in what could constitute one of the largest financial frauds in history.

The Journal added there has been no indication that anyone paid with the funds was aware of their origins.

According to the report, Low may have made payments with embezzled funds to Christie, who briefly headed Trump’s transition team; Trump’s longtime lawyer Marc Kasowitz; a former outside ethics adviser for the Trump Organization, Bobby Burchfield; and a Washington lobbyist with close ties to the Republican Party, Ed Rogers.

“There has been no communication by Governor Christie with any other area of government on Mr. Low’s behalf,” a Christie spokesman told the Journal, adding that “no inquiry made to him by the Department of Justice with regard to any other investigation regarding funding or otherwise.”

A spokesman for Kasowitz’s law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, confirmed to the Journal that it represents Low in DOJ-related matters and that it had been paid, “as [is the case] with all of our non-pro-bono clients.”

Burchfield told the newspaper that Low retained his law firm, King & Spalding, to “advise him on the ongoing investigations” and that the firm “performed appropriate due diligence on sources of payment.”

“Further, neither I nor King & Spalding has had contacts with any governmental entity, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Mr. Low, nor has King & Spalding received any inquiries from the Department of Justice regarding this engagement,” Burchfield told the Journal.

Rogers reportedly declined to comment, and representatives for Low did not respond to a request for comment.

Tags Bobby Burchfield Chris Christie Jho Low Donald Trump Ed Rogers Marc Kasowitz U.S. Justice Department

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