KUALA LUMPUR: Graft busters believe fugitive financier Low Taek Jho is hiding in Macau.
The information was confirmed by several people who had seen the businessman in the gambling haven, according to a written reply from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to Al Jazeera.
The revelation on the whereabouts of Low, or better known as Jho Low, came just weeks after 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) suspect Kee Kok Thiam was arrested and released by the MACC earlier this month.
Malaysian authorities have been working to repatriate Low, known as the most wanted white-collar criminal, for years.
He was first charged in absentia in 2018 by a Malaysian court with eight counts of money laundering. Low publicly declared his innocence the 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,” he said in a signed letter on his now-defunct website.
The American Federal Bureau of Investigation had 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. He is also facing several other trials.
On May 5, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia is negotiating with other countries to expedite Low’s return while describing the process as complicated.
“It involves other countries, intelligence services and international police,” he said.
In 2020, Low 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 is in addition to US$260mil of assets, including a US$126mil super yacht, seized earlier on Malaysia’s behalf.