Malaysia 1MDB scandal

Fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low still involved in affairs of his Hong Kong companies

Low, a key figure in 1MDB investigation, signed documents for private equity firm Jynwel Capital and non-profit group Jynwel Charitable Foundation this month

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 July, 2018, 4:23pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 November, 2018, 5:05pm

Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho has been actively involved in the affairs of his two Hong Kong-registered companies, even with Malaysian authorities in hot pursuit of him across several countries, the Post has learned.

Meanwhile, his business associate Seet Li Lin, said to be Singaporean, is living in Hong Kong and is connected to a Shanghai consulting firm owned by one of 37-year-old Low’s companies.

Jho Low, as he is widely known, is a key figure in an international money laundering investigation related to the alleged misappropriation of US$4.5 billion (HK$35.1 billion) from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested on July 3 for his alleged role in what has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in the country’s history, with reports of some US$700 million of 1MDB funds flowing into his personal accounts to fund his and his wife’s lavish lifestyle.

Low, who branded himself a global investor and philanthropist, is listed as the CEO of private equity firm Jynwel Capital and director of non-profit group Jynwel Charitable Foundation, both based in Hong Kong.

Documents from the city’s Companies Registry show that on July 9 Low signed two documents to change both firms’ company secretary from B & Mck Nominees to KV Pro Services in Mong Kok.

It is not known if he was in Hong Kong when he signed the documents. The registry said a signatory would not need to be in the city to sign the papers.

1MDB scandal: China’s searches ‘find no sign’ of financier Jho Low

B & Mck is a subsidiary of US law firm Baker McKenzie. A spokesman from the law firm confirmed it had ceased to work for Low’s companies but declined to give the reason.  

On June 26, Jho Low’s older brother, Low Taek Szen, who is also managing director of Jynwel Capital as described in its promotional video, signed documents applying to the Hong Kong Companies Registry to have its name changed to Quinton Investments and for the non-profit to be called Quantima Charitable Foundation.

Jynwel Capital, which has a swanky office in Central, did not reply to the Post’s phone and email queries about Jho Low’s whereabouts. On its website on Sunday, there was no information on the company and only a message saying the page was “undergoing major reconstruction”.

A source familiar with the operations of the Shanghai-based business consulting firm owned by Jynwel Capital said it had three staffers from Malaysia and Hong Kong and registered capital of US$3.3 million.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Jynwel recently tried to shut down the company, which was set up two years ago and based at Shanghai World Financial Centre.

Seet is listed as a supervisor of the consulting firm, and Low as a director, according to mainland China’s companies registry. The supervisor must inspect the company’s finances and oversee how directors carry out their duties.

Low is wanted by law enforcement authorities in several countries and an Interpol red notice on him has been out since 2016. There is no news of Seet being a wanted man.

Seet reportedly attended Wharton Business School with Low. He worked for Jynwel Capital from November 2012 to April 2017 on deals related to securities, according to Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission. Previous media reports said he described himself as a vice-president of Jynwel from 2011 to 2015 on professional networking site LinkedIn.

He has a Hong Kong identity card and co-owns a luxury flat above Kowloon Station which he and his wife bought in 2015 for HK$22 million, according to Land Registry documents.

The Post visited Seet’s home on Saturday and his wife confirmed he was still in the city. She declined to answer any other questions.

According to a 251-page document filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in June 2017, Seet was chief investment officer of Good Star, a Seychelles-registered company ultimately owned by Jho Low, which received US$700 million of fraudulently diverted funds from 1MDB for a joint venture project with PetroSaudi, a Saudi Arabian oil company.

Seet was reported to have posted on Facebook saying, “I feel the earth moved under my feet,” after the amount was remitted in November 2009. Apart from that, Seet was named by the DOJ as having signed for transactions of other deals related to Jho Low’s businesses.

Malaysian businessman’s bid to stop US seizing yacht in 1MDB scandal

The Post reported previously that Jho Low stayed in Hong Kong with his family in luxury flats in the upscale Pacific Place development and was believed to have left for Macau in early July. A Chinese official subsequently rejected reports that he had fled across the border to mainland China.

His Malaysian passport was cancelled on June 15, according to police in the country.

Both Jho Low and his brother have Hong Kong identity cards. Jho Low also holds a passport from the small Caribbean island nation of St Kitts and Nevis, according to the Malaysian government.