The Edge: We ask Jho Low the obvious questions The Straits Times of Singapore did not ask
KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 6): Dear Jho Low, we refer to the interview you gave to The Straits Times (ST) of Singapore and would like to ask you the following:
1. If you are innocent, why did you give up US$1.0 billion worth of assets to settle with the US Department of Justice (DoJ)? We are not talking about US$10 million or even US$100 million. This is US$1.0 billion! Who in his right mind would give this up if he is innocent? And didn’t you tell your favourite newspaper ST that in the US “the rule of law is respected and where people are considered innocent until proven guilty”? So, if you are innocent, why don’t you fight it out in a US court where you say justice can prevail?
2. If the money did not come from 1MDB as you claimed, what was the source of money you used to acquire these US$1.0 billion worth of assets that you are giving up? If it is from money your grandfather built up, as you have previously claimed, we refer you back to our first question. Why did you so readily give up what your grandfather built to settle with the DoJ if you are innocent?
3. Who is the principal if you are the intermediary? You claim that you were only an intermediary. An intermediary to a crime is also a criminal, your lawyers should be able to tell you that. We assume your principal was Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who, by the way, now pins all the blame on you, going by the defence he is putting up in court. Najib alleges that you were the principal. You claim you are just the intermediary. Are you accusing Najib of lying?
Anyway, we say you were joint principals and were each other’s alter ego throughout the years the scheme to scam 1MDB was in play.
4. Where are you now? You say you can’t disclose where you are for safety reasons. Yet, you got ST to say you are likely in the United Arab Emirates. We say this is simply a red herring to divert attention from where you are — China.
Stop the nonsensical spin you are doing with help from your friends in The Singapore ST. No one believes it anyway. Come back to your country of birth to defend yourself. Don’t run and hide. Only cowards and the guilty do that.
Fugitive financier Jho Low denies being ‘mastermind’ behind 1MDB
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho has said he only acted as an intermediary for deals involving 1MDB, denying in an interview published on Monday that he had set the stage for the theft of billions of dollars from the Malaysian state fund.
Low faces charges in the United States and Malaysia for his alleged central role in defrauding up to $4.5 billion from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), founded by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and the subject of the U.S. Department of Justice’s largest ever anti-kleptocracy case.
Low, or Jho Low as he is popularly known, has consistently denied wrongdoing and says the charges against him are politically motivated.
“People and companies act as introducers or intermediaries all the time,” Low said in an interview with Singapore’s Straits Times.
“This is not a unique situation. I was requested to assist because of my good relationships with influential foreign businessmen and decision makers.”
A spokesman for Low did not immediately respond to a request for additional comments.
To a question on why he has remained on the run, Low said the Malaysian government has victimized him and his family, ignoring “basic human rights and fair judicial processes” by branding him as the mastermind behind the scandal.
Malaysia’s prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Low said his “professional connections” had helped Malaysia build strong ties with key allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, boosting Haj pilgrimage quotas for Malaysian Muslims and investments in financial, real estate and other sectors in the Southeast Asian country.
Low declined to divulge his current location but confirmed he was offered asylum in August last year. He did not name the country offering asylum.
In November, U.S. authorities struck a deal with Low to recoup $1 billion in funds allegedly looted from 1MDB, which included a private jet, high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London, and other assets.
The deal does not include an admission of guilt or wrongdoing and is not tied to the criminal action against Low.
Low – who said he has had “multiple brushes with cancer” – said he now plans to focus on investing in cutting-edge cancer research.
“I would cherish the opportunity to reinvigorate my philanthropic efforts and to give back to the community and help others in any way I can.”