Businessman Low Taek Jhow, also known as Jho Low, may have left Macau. Earlier this week the Royal Malaysia Police sent a formal request to Macau authorities for the arrest of Low. Low, is believed to be the mastermind behind the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal, which led to the arrest of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. Low entered Macau from Hong Kong, where he stayed two months in an apartment in Pacific Place with his family and entourage, according to the South China Morning Post.
Malaysian Inspector-General of Police, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, said yesterday that Low is believed to have left Macau, citing an email from Macau authorities.
“According to the e-mail, Jho Low is believed to have left Macau for an unknown destination,” Mohamad Fuzi told Malaysia’s state news agency Bernama.
The local Judiciary Police (PJ) confirmed that it sent a response to Malaysia but would “not disclose personal entry and exit information.” In a statement sent to Reuters News Agency, the PJ criticized Mohamad Fuzi for information he released earlier.
“The national police chief recently provided the media information about Macau which is not in line with the facts….This office finds it extremely regrettable,” it said.
Malaysia’s immigration department canceled Low’s passport in June. Low is believed to be using a passport issued by another country in order to travel.
U.S. prosecutors allege that Low was a central figure in looting and laundering at least USD4.5 billion from the 1MDB fund. A friend of Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, Low had no official role at 1MDB, yet had considerable influence over its dealings and was often in contact with Najib, according to the Justice Department.
Switzerland Attorney-General Michael Lauber said Tuesday that the scandal could involve an estimated $7 billion in fraud, far above the U.S. figure.
After meeting in Kuala Lumpur with his Malaysian counterpart, Tommy Thomas, Lauber’s office issued a statement that Switzerland has initiated proceedings against six people, not including Najib, as well as two private banks.
Najib was charged last week with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power, making him one of the few Southeast Asian leaders to be prosecuted after losing office. Anger over the 1MDB saga contributed to the surprise defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in May 9 elections, ushering in Malaysia’s first change of power since its independence from Britain in 1957.
Najib denies any wrongdoing and has accused the new government of pursuing a vendetta against him. Police have also seized jewelry and valuables valued at more than 1.1 billion ringgit ($273 million) from properties linked to Najib.
Singapore says hong kong declined request to arrest low
SINGAPORE SAID its request to Hong Kong authorities in 2016 to arrest Jho Low for alleged money laundering and dealing with stolen property wasn’t acted on, refuting media reports that said it didn’t ask for the Malaysian financier to be apprehended. The request for assistance to provisionally arrest Low was sent to the Hong Kong Department of Justice in April 2016, a representative for Singapore’s police said yesterday in response to Bloomberg. “Singapore’s request was declined by the Hong Kong authorities,” the Singapore police said, without elaborating on why it was denied. The request was made under an agreement for the surrender of fugitive offenders between both territories, it said.