Kimora Lee Simmons and Najib Razak
Kimora Lee's husband Tim Leissner was a dealmaker for Goldman Sachs, which formed a relationship with 1MDB, chaired by Najib Razak (R)Getty

It's the scandal that enraptured Malaysia and attracted the attention of the FBI and celebrity obsessives alike. Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is accused of syphoning almost $700m (£483m) from state-owned investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The government probed if the leader used the company to turn capital city Kuala Lumpur into one of the world's financial hubs as his personal slush fund. The company was formed in 2009 – when the economy was booming. Razak denied the claim after the fund caught the attention of authorities when 1MDB amassed eye-watering debts of a reported $11bn. It then missed payments worth to creditors billions of dollars.

The Malaysian government wanted to know why $681m (£470m) was transferred by the Saudi Arabia royal family into Razak's bank account. The controversy should have ended in January when the attorney general cleared Razak of corruption but critics have lined up to ask how he was let off by authorities.

Somewhere in the middle of the controversy the story gets its celebrity gloss in the form of model-turned-designer – and former wife of rap mogul Russell Simmons – Kimora Lee. She is the wife of Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner, the American now under investigation by the FBI over his reign of Goldman's south-east Asia operations as its chairman.

The American investment bank played dealmaker for three 1MDB bond offerings between 2012-13, raking in $6.5b for 1MDB and $593m for the bank in fees. Leissner and his glamorous wife were guests in San Francisco back in September 2013 when Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansour travelled to San Francisco to open a new office of Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund.

According to reports, Lee is said to have struck up a friendship with Mansour. She is criticised in Malaysia for wielding influence over her husband's politics.

Malaysian 1MDB scandal: Check out our Flipboard magazine