The US Department of Justice is seeking to provide updates on 1MDB-related cases to a US court behind closed doors, according to court documents sighted by Malaysiakini.
Based on applications filed in court yesterday, the DOJ also sought for future status reports on the cases to be filed under seal and in camera.
“Contemporaneously with the filing of this status report, the government is submitting a request to file, under seal and in camera, a more detailed declaration and status report.
“Any further status reports will be premised upon the facts set out in the proposed sealed in camera filing referenced here, and the government will be requesting that any future status reports also be filed under seal and in camera.
“The government will continue to timely report to the court, as directed in the Sept 13, 2017 Order, and respectfully requests that the court’s prior order staying all proceedings continue until vacated by the court,” reads one of the documents filed in the California Central District Court.
Applications filed for all 13 civil forfeiture suits
The nearly identical applications were filed for all 13 civil forfeiture suits affected by the stay order.
The status report mentioned in the filing does not appear to be available through publicly accessible portions of the court’s electronic records system.
On Sept 13 last year, the California Central District Court judge Dale S Fischer had granted a stay on DOJ’s 1MDB-related civil forfeiture suits.
The DOJ had applied for the stay two weeks earlier, over concerns that details disclosed at the proceedings could jeopardise ongoing criminal investigations, which it said had been ongoing since 2016, before the civil forfeiture suits were filed.
“Such disclosures could result in the destruction of evidence, the flight of potential subjects and targets, or the identification and intimidation of potential witnesses,” FBI special agent Jill Enyart had said at the time.
However, as a condition for granting the stay, the court ordered the DOJ to provide it with updates on the investigation every 180 days. This means the first round of updates was due yesterday.
The updates are meant to allow the court to assess whether the stay order should continue or be lifted.
The civil forfeiture suits are part of a US initiative to seize corruption proceeds that the DOJ alleges had been misappropriated from 1MDB and laundered through the US financial system.
However, the Malaysian government and 1MDB have countered that no money is missing.