CALIFORNIA—Businesswoman Nickie Mali Lum Davis, 45, pleaded guilty to an illicit lobbying effort to get the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the multibillion-dollar looting of a Malaysian state investment fund in addition to arranging for the return of Chinese dissident living in the U.S on Monday, August 31 via video from Los Angeles during a hearing in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Davis failed to tell the government that lobbying was done on behalf of the fugitive Malaysian financier who had been previously charged with devising the laundering of billions of dollars from the fund. Davis is specifically accused for working with a politically connected fundraiser with close ties to Donald Trump to press the Justice Department to dismiss the forfeiture claims and embezzlement from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a company owned by Government of Malaysia to accelerate the economic development of the country.
She plead guilty to a single count of violation of Foreign Agents Registration Act. The act requires individuals enlisted by foreign entities to lobby the U.S. government to disclose and register that work with the U.S. Justice Department. She faces up to five years in prison total, along with a $10,000 fine when she is sentenced in January 2021.
“Though Ms. Davis’s efforts were unsuccessful, this case demonstrates how foreign governments seek to advance their agendas in the United States by hiding behind politically influential proxies. Such conduct poses a serious threat to our national security and undermines the integrity of our democracy. The failure to disclose these relationships harms both the American people and government officials by preventing them from accounting for and evaluating the true source of and motivation for foreign lobbying efforts,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in a press release.
The prosecutors also state that $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund and laundered by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who utilized the money to finance Hollywood films, hotels, artwork, and more. Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Malaysia last month. She has also compromised with the U.S. government to forfeit $3 million in proceeds from the offense to avoid additional charges against her.