1MDB fugitive Jho Low hit with money-laundering charges in Malaysia
Police file eight charges against Low Taek Jho while his father, Low Hock Peng, is booked for one charge under the same money-laundering act
Malaysian police on Friday filed criminal charges against fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, who is wanted in connection with a multibillion-dollar money laundering scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Low, popularly known as Jho Low, is regarded as having been close to former prime minister Najib Razak and has been identified by investigators in Malaysia and the United States as a top suspect in the 1MDB case.
He was slapped with eight charges of money laundering at a court in the administrative capital Putrajaya, Amar Singh, the director of police commercial crime investigations said.
Low’s father Low Hock Peng was booked for one charge under the same money laundering act, he said.
“Warrants of arrest for both of them were issued by the court,” Singh said.
Low and his family’s whereabouts are unknown, but Malaysian lawmakers and enforcement officials have said the 38-year-old financier is believed to be living in China. Some media reports say he may be in Abu Dhabi.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Singapore authorities had previously issued arrest warrants for Low.
Malaysia has also applied for an Interpol red notice to seek help from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong to detain Low.
Last month, Najib was charged for money laundering and abuse of power in connection with funds transferred from a former unit of 1MDB. Najib has denied wrongdoing.
The US justice department says more than US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, with some of the money used to buy a private jet, a superyacht, Picasso paintings, jewellery and real estate.
This month, the US$250 million superyacht Equanimity, which the justice department says was bought by Jho Low, arrived in Kuala Lumpur after it was seized by authorities.
Attempts are also underway to impound Low’s US$35 million private jet that was grounded in Singapore last year.