Miranda Kerr returns jewelry gifted in alleged Malaysian scheme

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Australian model and actress Miranda Kerr has handed over millions of dollars worth of jewelry that U.S. authorities say was given to her as part of a Malaysian money laundering scheme, her spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Kerr, a former Victoria’s Secret model, was given diamond pendants, earrings and other jewelry worth about $8 million in 2014 by Malaysian financier Jho Low, according to a June 15 U.S. Department of Justice civil lawsuit.

Kerr is not accused of any wrongdoing and her spokesperson said she has co-operated fully with U.S. authorities from the start of the inquiry.

“The transfer of the jewelry gifts from Ms. Kerr’s safe deposit box in Los Angeles to government agents was completedĀ on last Friday afternoon,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The gifts of jewelry were detailed in the Justice Department’s lawsuit, in a long-running case over an alleged conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, known as 1MDB, which was set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to promote economic development.

The Justice Department alleges that more than $4.5 billion was taken from 1MDB by high-level fund officials and their associates.

Kerr, who was in between marriages to actor Orlando Bloom and Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel at the time, was given a heart-shaped diamond necklace worth $1.8 million, with her initials inscribed on the back, as a 2014 Valentine’s Day gift from Low, according to the lawsuit.

Later in 2014, investigators said, Low gave Kerr a second, pink diamond, pendant worth $4.8 million, followed by matching earrings, a bracelet and a ring worth almost $2 million.

The lawsuit said the funds for the jewelry were misappropriated from the 1MDB account.

Low, whose whereabouts are unknown, could not be reached for comment.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio also is tied up in the scandal after accepting artwork by Picasso and Basquiat worth more than $12 million from financiers connected with the 1MDB case, along with an Oscar once owned by actor Marlon Brando.

DiCaprio is cooperating with authorities and has initiated the return of the items, his spokesman has said.

DiCaprio’s involvement stems from his 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which investigators allege was financed through Hollywood production company Red Granite with $100 million diverted from the 1MDB fund.

Red Granite has denied any wrongdoing and has said it is fully co-operating with the Justice Department.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Gina Cherelus; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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