Jho Low offers to meet 1MDB investigators in Dubai

  • Jun 13, 2018
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Investigators believe Low Taek Jho can help in the effort to recover funds and assets bought with money diverted from 1Malaysia Development Bhd. 

FUGITIVE financier Low Taek Jho has surfaced in Dubai, and has told the task force investigating 1Malaysia Development Bhd that he was willing to meet them there, government sources said.

As a precursor to that meeting, his lawyers are expected have a sit-down with officials from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Gulf emirate and discuss areas in which their client can assist in the probe involving the siphoning of billions of ringgit from the state-owned entity. 

Low's lawyers confirmed that discussions had started with Malaysian authorities, but declined to say more to The Malaysian Insight.

Malaysian authorities are confident that the Penang-born businessman, who is popularly known as Jho Low, can help in the effort to repatriate funds or assets purchased with 1MDB funds.

Equally important, 1MDB investigators believe that he can identify where other assets, including expensive jewellery have been hidden. 

The sudden urgency shown by ‎Najib Razak's business partner and confidant in reaching out to Malaysian authorities is not coincidental.

He stayed hidden, silent and unresponsive as long as Najib and Barisan Nasional were in power, and afforded him protection from prosecution in Malaysia.

That scenario was turned on its head on May 9 when Pakatan Harapan wrested control of Putrajaya. The new government under Dr Mahathir Mohamad has made it their No. 1 priority to prosecute Najib and other individuals connected to the 1MDB scandal.

Against this backdrop of the umbrella of protection removed, Jho Low sent out feelers to the Dr Mahathir administration and MACC. 

Investigators in Singapore and the United States have painted the one-time friend of Hollywood stars and Najib as key players in the diversion of billions of ringgit from the state-owned investment firm.

Several international notices seeking information on his whereabouts and his arrest have been issued by foreign governments, but he has managed to travel and live untroubled before news of the scandal broke in 2015. 

Malaysian authorities believe that he has enjoyed the protection of China and several Middle East countries, including the United Arab Emirates.

This diplomatic cover has made it difficult for Malaysia and other foreign governments investigating the fiasco to seek Jho Low's extradition. 

Dr Mahathir said recently that the government had an idea where the wanted Malaysian was, but could not get him back.

Dubai has long been known as a haven for exiled politicians and those sought for offences in their home countries. This group includes former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. 

Government officials believe that Jho Low is close to influential stakeholders in Dubai and that is why he has offered to meet 1MDB investigators there. Some of the questionable dealings in the 1MDB scandal also involved several individuals from the UAE.