(Aug 11): The US is moving forward with a criminal investigation into money stolen from a Malaysian state investment fund that allegedly was used to acquire about US$1.7 billion ($2.3 billion) in real estate, art, jewelry and other assets.

Court filings by the Justice Department Thursday show the US is escalating its probe in a worldwide effort to track how much of the money that was raised by 1Malaysia Development Bhd. was used to pay for luxury real estate in New York, London and Beverly Hills, film productions, private jets, yachts and more.

Justice Department officials asked a judge in Los Angeles to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, and others involved with 1MDB because pursuing these cases may hamper the criminal investigation.

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