© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traffic passes a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard in the development of the Tun Razak Exchange in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 6, 2015. REUTERS / Olivia Harris / File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia said Thursday it had recovered enough funds related to the scandal-stricken state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to pay only the bulk of the debt the company owes this year.

1MDB raised billions in bonds between 2009 and 2013, ostensibly for investment projects and joint ventures.

However, authorities believe that more than $ 4.5 billion from the fund was embezzled by senior officials and their staff in an elaborate global criminal plot.

The Malaysian Treasury Department said in a statement that an escrow account set up to collect recovered 1MDB funds has received 19.1 billion ringgit ($ 4.58 billion), including $ 80 million from the Auditing firm KPMG paid to settle a lawsuit by 1MDB against the Treasury Department.

The government has so far repaid 13.3 billion ringgits of 1MDB’s debt, with 38.81 billion ringgits outstanding as of December 31, the ministry said.

“The current balance of the trust account is sufficient to pay off only the nominal amount of the bonds for 2022,” it said.

“Once all funds in the escrow account are used, the government will continue to have an obligation to pay the remaining amount of 1MDB’s debt.”

The ministry said it remains committed to efforts to restore 1MDB assets and ensure sufficient funds are available to deal with the national financial burden created by the scandal.

At least six countries have opened investigations into 1MDB, co-founded by former Prime Minister Najib Razak, in a scandal involving senior officials, banks and financial institutions around the world.

A Malaysian court last month upheld a conviction against Najib, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined millions of euros for corruption and money laundering related to the misappropriation of funds from a 1MDB unit.

He denies wrongdoing and remains bail until another appeal is filed.

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