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Malaysia: No Case Against Financier Jho Low in 1MDB-Linked Lawsuits

Hata Wahari
Kuala Lumpur
2017-10-23
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Model Gigi Hadid greets Malaysian Low Taek Jho at a gala in New York City, Oct. 20, 2014.
Model Gigi Hadid greets Malaysian Low Taek Jho at a gala in New York City, Oct. 20, 2014.
AFP

There is no case against a financier close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who was named in American lawsuits that seek to recover more than $1 billion in assets tied to the troubled sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, the country’s deputy prime minister said Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told parliament that police had sought Interpol’s support in locating Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho (alias Jho Low). Zahid also issued a statement saying the Malaysian investigation against the financier was closed and an Interpol search was no longer necessary.

“We are very confident that Interpol has acted professionally and police have yet to receive any detailed information,” Zahid told members of parliament.

“But we are confident that whatever has been done … especially by intelligence agencies, has been concluded and we are confident the case is no longer relevant.”

Low has been named in U.S. court documents in which the United States Justice Department claims that about $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the state fund known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Najib was not named in the lawsuits but has been identified as “Malaysian Official 1” by a U.S. government source.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing regarding 1MDB.

Low’s name appeared in court documents tied to 1MDB that were filed in 2016 and 2017. The original lawsuits seek the forfeiture of a jet, penthouses and condominiums in New York City, properties in Beverly Hills, Calif., including a mansion, artwork by Vincent Van Gogh and paintings by Claude Monet.

More recently, U.S. court documents filed in August alleged that 1MDB officials and others had arranged for the fraudulent transfer of more than U.S. $1 billion to a Swiss bank account held in the name of Good Star Limited under the pretense of investing in a joint venture with PetroSaudi International, a private Saudi mineral extraction company.

“That Good Star account was not owned by PetroSaudi or the joint venture, but by Low Taek Jho (alias Jho Low), a Malaysian who had no formal position with 1MDB, but who was involved in its creation and exercised significant control over its dealings,” the court document stated.

Other countries including Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg are investigating how the 1MDB funds were allegedly diverted.

Low could not be reached for comment on Monday but has denied breaking any laws linked to 1MDB.

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