There is a new twist in the multi-billion-dollar financial scandal surrounding the Malaysian investment fund 1MDB – possible Chinese involvement.
Malaysia’s new government – which took office only in May – has suspended three major construction projects with Chinese firms.
A senior ministry official told the BBC that it believes that two of the contracts, for pipelines, were used to launder money for Malaysia’s previous administration, led by the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak.
These allegations open a new front in the inquiries into 1MDB, which is already being investigated in the US, Switzerland and Singapore.
The finance ministry’s accusations also represent a sharp change in mood in Malaysia towards China since Mr Najib lost power.
The investigations into 1MDB are being led by Malaysia’s finance ministry, housed in a vast curved building in Putrajaya, a purpose-built town to the south of Kuala Lumpur that has been the country’s administrative capital for the past two decades.
Until the election in May, Tony Pua was an opposition MP who spent much of his time talking about 1MDB, which he calls “the great grandmother of all scandals”.
He made a series of scurrilous videos about the fund and its alleged connection to Mr Najib.
But now Mr Pua’s party is in government and he has been employed as a special officer to the finance minister to look through the mountains of documentation related to 1MDB.
Before his current job, he said he worked with “dribs and drabs” of information about 1MDB – but not any more. “Now, anything you ask for, the tap opens like a beer barrel,” he told the BBC in an interview at the ministry.
17 July 2018
Jho Low broke law on dual citizenship, says immigration chief
He says the embattled businessman’s other passport carries the same name.
SEPANG: Businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, is believed to be using this same name on the Saint Kitts and Nevis passport which he possesses, said Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali.
“We find that he is still using the same name (Low Taek Jho) on the passport,” he said, adding that it was an offence for a Malaysian citizen to carry two passports.
“We don’t practise dual citizenship. Every citizen must have one nationality and one Malaysian passport,” he told reporters today.
He said the Immigration Department continued to cooperate with counterparts throughout the world, besides the police, Interpol and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), in tracking down Jho Low.
Jho Low is in a country where he can’t be extradited, says PM
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today confirmed attempts by Malaysian authorities to arrest 1MDB-linked businessperson Jho Low.
Speaking at a press conference in Putrajaya, Mahathir, however, revealed a snag in the process as Malaysia did not have existing extradition arrangements with the undisclosed country where Low is believed to be hiding.
“We are trying to arrest Jho Low but he is not in the country (Malaysia) and we don’t have extradition rights in the country where he is staying,” said Mahathir when asked to confirm reports that an arrest warrant had been issued for Low.
MACC seeks to arrest Jho Low, Nik Faisal, Shahrol
Arrest warrants have been issued against 1MDB-linked businessperson Jho Low and SRC International director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.
An MACC source told Malaysiakini that the warrants for the duo had been issued several days ago.
Citing sources, Bloomberg also reported that the MACC is also preparing arrest warrants against former 1MDB chief executive officer Shahrol Halmi, and former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng.
Earlier today, the MACC had issued a notice urging Low and Nik Faisal to come forward and assist with investigations into SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary.
Ng was previously reported to have dealings with fellow former Goldman banker Tim Leissner, who was instrumental in arranging for three bonds for 1MDB the proceeds of which were later allegedly syphoned off.
Guan Eng asks IRB to probe Jho Low and family
KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has asked the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to investigate financier Low Taek Jho and his family in relation to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the state fund at the heart of massive anti-corruption probe.
Lim Guan Eng said in a tweet: “The Inland Revenue Board is asked to investigate Jho Low and his family in relation to any returns or anything received in the 1MDB scandal.”
21 May 2018
WSJ: Jho Low was in Phuket waiting for Najib to win GE14
Penang-born businessperson Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind behind the 1MDB affair, was in Phuket, Thailand a few days before Malaysia’s 14th general election, reported the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
1MDB ‘mastermind’ Jho Low flee Thailand after being spotting relaxing in Phuket, Macau, Shanghai and Bangkok before the elections https://www.wsj.com/articles/fall-of-a-malaysian-dynasty-puts-target-on-alleged-1mdb-mastermind-1526843487 …
Report: Jho Low likely to be in Taiwan
A Chinese daily has claimed that Penang-born businessperson Jho Low is likely to be currently residing in Taiwan.
According to Nanyang Siang Pau, it had “reliable information” of Low’s whereabouts, but did not specify details.
The report speculated that extraditing Low would be difficult as Malaysia and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations…