MACC believes 1MDB fugitive Jho Low is in Macau, says report

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 30 May 2023

NEW YORK: Malaysia believes financier Low Taek Jho (pic) is hiding in Macau, along with others wanted in the multibillion ringgit 1MDB scandal, Al Jazeera reported, citing the national anti-graft body.

The information was confirmed by several individuals who had spotted the fugitive, better known as Jho Low, in Macau, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission told Al Jazeera in a written response. This included 1MDB suspect, Kee Kok Thiam, who was arrested and released by the MACC earlier this month.

ALSO READ: Chorus of calls for Jho Low to face the music

Malaysian authorities have been working to repatriate Jho Low for years. He was first charged in absentia in 2018 by a Malaysian court with eight counts of money laundering and issued a warrant of arrest for his role in 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Low publicly declared his innocence that same year.

"With hindsight I may have done things differently, like any young person, but any mistakes I made do not amount to the sweepingly broad and destructive allegations being made against me,” Low said in a signed letter on his now-defunct website.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has accused Low of stealing US$1.42bil from three bond transactions that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. arranged for the Malaysian wealth fund.

A separate Malaysian court in 2020 said Low played a crucial role in transferring RM42mil from a former 1MDB unit to ex-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts. Najib is now serving a 12-year prison sentence for his crimes related to 1MDB, and faces several other trials. He has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and is seeking a royal pardon.

MACC’s chief Tan Sri Azam Baki didn’t immediately reply to a call and a text message seeking comment on the Al Jazeera report.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on May 5 said Malaysia is negotiating with other countries to expedite Low’s return, while describing the process as complicated.

"It involves other countries, it involves intelligence services, Interpol,” Anwar told reporters that day. He didn’t reveal the countries involved in the talks, nor confirmed Low’s whereabouts.

In 2020, the financier had struck a deal with US prosecutors to recoup almost US$700mil of assets, including a Beverly Hills hotel and real estate in New York and London. That’s in addition to US$260mil of assets, including a US$126mil super yacht, seized earlier on Malaysia’s behalf. - Bloomberg

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