While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 16 edition

Authorities say US$3.2 million was diverted from a 1MDB bond sale to buy a Picasso painting for Leonardo DiCaprio (above).
Authorities say US$3.2 million was diverted from a 1MDB bond sale to buy a Picasso painting for Leonardo DiCaprio (above).PHOTO: REUTERS

US moves to seize Leonardo DiCaprio’s Picasso, ‘stolen’ funds in 1MDB case

US authorities moved to seize a Picasso painting given to American movie star Leonardo DiCaprio and the rights to two Hollywood comedies, as they filed complaints to recover about US$540 million (S$746 million) they say was stolen from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) sovereign wealth fund.

The US Justice Department filing was the latest legal action tied to alleged money laundering at the fund set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to promote economic development. In the complaints, the department alleges more than US$4.5 billion was taken from 1MDB by high-level fund officials and their associates.

“This money financed the lavish lifestyles of the alleged co-conspirators at the expense and detriment of the Malaysian people,” Kenneth Blanco, acting assistant attorney-general, said in a statement. 1MDB could not be immediately reached for comment.

Najib has denied taking money from 1MDB or any other entity for personal gain, after it was reported that investigators traced nearly US$700 million to bank accounts that were allegedly in his name.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

The assets US authorities are seeking to seize include the rights to Dumb and Dumber To, a 2014 comedy starring Jim Carrey, they allege was financed with tens of millions of dollars stolen from 1MDB, and the 2015 film Daddy’s Home, starring Will Ferrell.

READ MORE HERE

Cause of US student’s brain injury in North Korea still unknown, say doctors

Doctors treating Otto Warmbier, the comatose US student released from North Korean detention this week, said that the 22-year-old had suffered extensive brain damage, the cause of which remains unknown.

Doctors treating Otto Warmbier, the comatose US student released from North Korean detention this week, said on Thursday (June 15) that the 22-year-old had suffered extensive brain damage, the cause of which remains unknown.

“He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking. However, he shows no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings,” he said. An MRI scan revealed “extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain,” Kanter said.

READ MORE HERE

Anger mounts over London tower blaze

Anger mounted in London over a devastating tower block blaze which killed at least 17 people, as police said some of the victims were left unrecognisable by the blaze.

Locals yelled questions at Mayor Sadiq Khan as he walked through the west London neighbourhood where the 24-storey Grenfell Tower went up in flames early on Thursday.

“How many children died? What are you going to do about it?” a boy asked Khan, as the mayor tried to stop tensions rising further.

READ MORE HERE

Golf: Blimp crashes at US Open, pilot injured

A blimp shooting aerial images at the US Open caught fire and crashed with the pilot apparently parachuting from the aircraft as it plummeted to earth before horrified players and spectators.

Golf stars and fans at Erin Hills Golf Course looked on in disbelief as the aircraft could be seen falling from the sky near the venue.

Local media reports and video footage of the crash shared on social media indicated a fire on board the blimp before it plunged from the sky.

READ MORE HERE 

Golf: Fowler in control at Erin Hills in quest for first major

Rickie Fowler, a prime candidate to become the next in a long line of first-time major winners, fired a record-equalling seven-under-par 65 to seize a two-shot clubhouse lead in Thursday’s first round of the US Open.

Displaying command of all facets of his game, the American took best advantage of the rain-softened Erin Hills layout with seven birdies in a bogey-free round that tied the U.S. Open first-round record in a relation to par.

“I’ve been swinging really well. I feel like I have great control of the ball right now and distance control,” said Fowler, who hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 greens in regulation.

READ MORE HERE