Wanted: Malaysian anti-corruption body issues notice for billionaire Jho Low
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Wanted: Malaysian anti-corruption body issues notice for billionaire Jho Low

ANTI-CORRUPTION officials in Malaysia on Thursday put an alert out for Low Taek Jho, saying the billionaire businessman with alleged ties to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal was wanted for questioning in a probe on one of the firm’s former subsidiaries.

In the notice, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) summoned the 37-year-old Low, or Jho Low as he is popularly known, as well as Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, director of the firm in question, SRC International Sdn Bhd.

The investigation is looking into how RM42 million (US$10 million) landed several years ago into the personal bank account of former prime minister Najib Razak, who was ousted from power in last month’s tumultuous polls. The sum is just a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB in a scandal that has dogged Najib’s leadership for years and is what many say led to his stunning defeat on May 9.

“(The) Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is asking these two individuals to contact the MACC immediately to assist with case investigations related to SRC International Sdn Bhd (Pte Ltd),” the commission said in the notice widely circulated on social media.

SEE ALSO: Malaysia’s Jho Low claims Singapore ‘politically motivated’ in 1MDB scandal  

The notice said Low’s last known address was in the northern state of Penang, while Nik Faisal reportedly lived in Shah Alam, in the outskirts of the capital.

“In relation to this, the MACC is asking members of the public who have information or know the two individuals to contact the investigating officer, Senior Assistant Commissioner Rosli Husain at (+60)03-88700529 or (+60)10-3187757, or email roslihusain@sprm.gov.my or any closest MACC office,” the notice said.

Following the notice, Low instructed his lawyers to make contact with MACC.

“Through media reports dated June 7, 2018, Mr Low was made aware of MACC requesting his assistance,” a spokesman said, as quoted by The Sun.

“Following this, Mr Low immediately instructed his lawyers to make contact with MACC today, with respect to offering such assistance.”

Low, a close associate of Najib and his family, was among a few businessmen to be questioned by the MACC December in 2015 but the investigations did not lead to any indictments.

SRC was created in 2011 by Najib’s government to pursue overseas investments in energy resources, and was a unit of 1MDB until it was moved to the finance ministry in 2012.

SEE ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: US files explain seizure of $250m superyacht in 1MDB scandal 

A special taskforce was formed in mid-2015 to investigate allegations against Najib, who was embroiled in the 1MDB scandal and faced public scrutiny over the deposit from SRC international and a larger tranche of US$681 million which was believed to have been siphoned from 1MDB.

Najib, who explained that the US$681 million deposited was “donation” from an unnamed Saudi Arabian prince, was exonerated by the then-Attorney-General, Apandi Ali, in early 2016.

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The Cayman Island-registered vessel Equanimity, which is reportedly worth some 250 million USD and is owned by Jho Low, a former unofficial adviser to the Malaysian fund 1MDB, sits in waters off Tanjung Benoa on the Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on April 4, 2018. Source: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP

1MDB has been a focus of investigations in at least six countries, including the United States, but Najib has denied any wrong-doing.

Last month, a shock election result upended Malaysia’s political order. It was the first defeat for the Barisan Nasional coalition that governed the Southeast Asian nation since its independence from colonial rule in 1957.

SEE ALSO: Mahathir threatens to ‘squeeze’ Malaysia PM Najib for 1MDB funds

Malaysia’s new leader, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has reopened investigations into 1MDB and has vowed to recover money that disappeared from the fund.

On Tuesday, the MACC held a questioning session with Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, which lasted several hours. Rosmah is known for her lavish lifestyle and taste for extravagant handbags and jewellery, and has often been compared to the opulent former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos.

In recent weeks, the Royal Malaysia Police’s (RMD) Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) seized RM130 million (US$32 million) in cash stored in dozens of bags hidden in several luxury apartment units linked to Najib. The cops also seized 284 boxes containing an estimated RM200 million (US$50 million) worth of designer handbags, jewellery and watches.