US govt returns $156 million worth of 1MDB funds to Malaysia, embassy says

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -The U.S. government has returned another $156 million to Malaysia in recovered assets linked to scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), taking the total returned so far to $1.4 billion, the U.S embassy in Kuala Lumpur said.

The recovered funds were being returned following the U.S. Justice Department's approval of a remission petition submitted by the Malaysian government.

To date, U.S. authorities have recovered and returned about $1.4 billion in funds misappropriated from 1MDB to Malaysia, the U.S. embassy said in a statement issued late on Thursday.

"This extraordinary sum of money is going back to the people of Malaysia where it belongs and where it can finally be used for its original intended purpose – to better the lives of everyday Malaysians," U.S. ambassador Edgard D. Kagan said in the statement.

The office of Malaysia's prime minister did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Malaysian and U.S. investigators estimate $4.5 billion was siphoned away from 1MDB following its inception in 2009, implicating former Prime Minister Najib Razak, Goldman Sachs staff and high-level officials elsewhere.

(Reporting by Danial Azhar; Editing by John Mair)