A New Zealand judge has allowed a Malaysian businessman and his family to carry on their fight to stop millions of dollars' worth of luxury assets from being seized by the US government.
In July 2016, the US government launched civil action relating to assets worth up to $5 billion allegedly misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, known as 1MDB.
It argues the assets were part of a huge international money laundering conspiracy.
One of the accused, Malaysian financier Jho Low, and his family, are beneficiaries of six trusts containing some of the disputed assets, including three New Zealand-based trusts.
The total value of the trusts is $370m, including a Bombardier jet, a hotel in Beverly Hills and three other properties.
In the High Court in Auckland today, Justice Toogood gave the Low family the power to appoint new trustees to fight proceedings in California.
The family argued they needed to have trustees with legal standing in the American court system so they could contest the US claim for forfeiture of the assets.
Justice Toogood said he was concerned solely with legal rules for replacement of trustees, and was not commenting in any way on the merits of the US case.
The money from the sovereign wealth fund was invested in several countries and the authorities in four of them launched investigations: Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the US.