Citing an unidentified government source, The Malaysian Reserve is reporting that authorities believe wanted businessman Low Taek Jho is hiding out in the Macau SAR.
The Penang-born businessman is allegedly connected to the controversial 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal that saw billions of US dollars disappear. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission believes he played a central role in the laundering of public money from the sovereign wealth fund.
Malaysia’s authorities are seeking his arrest but he has reportedly left Malaysia and is now residing in a place without an extradition treaty with the country.
According to the government source, Low is residing in Macau – a “good place” to hide – as the territory does not have such an agreement with Malaysia.
On June 8, newly-elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said, “we are trying to arrest Jho Low, but he is not in the country. And we do not have extradition rights in the country where he is hiding.”
Macau does not currently have any complete extradition treaties, though it may surrender fugitives in cases of dual illegality (when the accusation is also a crime in Macau), or with the intervention of the Chief Executive. A formal extradition treaty with Hong Kong is in the works, though it has been delayed several times.
Some media reports have suggested that Low might be hiding in places such as Thailand, China and Taiwan, where people have claimed to see him.
In 2015, Singapore’s police identified Malaysian financier Low, as a “key person of interest” in the case.
Low, known for partying with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, is accused of directing funds from 1MDB to connected individuals and for his and his associates’ personal gain. With these funds, he is believed to have bought art and real estate and paid for lavish parties and gambling, as well as helping the stepson of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, launch his career as a movie mogul by supplying funding for the hit movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
Low has previously described his role with 1MDB as informal consulting that did not break any law. According to Bloomberg, he said he would cooperate with the MACC through his lawyers. However, the former administration of the country repeatedly denied links between Low and 1MDB.