Ties to ty­coon

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS - By MARIA BRAD­SHAW mariabrad­[email protected]­tion­news.com @Mari­a_­na­tionbb

BAR­BA­DOS HAS BEEN MEN­TIONED in crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings in­volv­ing Malaysian ty­coon fugi­tive Low Taek Jho (aka Jho Low), who has been im­pli­cated by the United States Depart­ment of Jus­tice in the al­leged mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of bil­lions of dol­lars linked to 1Malaysia De­vel­op­ment Bhd (1MDB).

Jho Low, 37, who is fac­ing charges in the US, Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore in what is be­ing de­scribed as one of the world’s largest money laun­der­ing scan­dals in his­tory, at one time con­sid­ered buy­ing Ami­corp Bank Bar­ba­dos to “park his money”.

He trav­elled here on sev­eral oc­ca­sions in his pri­vate jet and yacht, stay­ing at high-end ho­tels, and meet­ing with ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cers as­so­ci­ated with the bank.

All of this was re­vealed last year dur­ing the crim­i­nal trial in Sin­ga­pore of Jho Low’s con­sul­tant and ad­viser Yeo Ji­awei, who was sub­se­quently sen­tenced to 54 months in jail for money laun­der­ing and cheat­ing charges.

Pros­e­cu­tors pro­duced email and What­sapp mes­sages link­ing Jho Low and Ji­awei to the Bar­ba­dos deal which never ma­te­ri­alised.

In one email, Jho Low was cited as say­ing he wanted the bank to be ac­quired with a com­pany owned by two high-level United Arab Emi­rates as­so­ciates to serve as a “park­ing spot” for his funds, as well as those of his friends and fam­ily.

Jose Renato Car­valho Pinto, an Ami­corp re­la­tion­ship man­ager, tes­ti­fied that Yeo’s re­la­tion­ship with Jho Low was so close, that he trav­elled on his pri­vate jet, and ac­com­pa­nied him on his lux­ury yacht Equa­nim­ity on busi­ness trips to the Caribbean, in­clud­ing Bar­ba­dos where he stayed at the lux­u­ri­ous Sandy Lane Ho­tel.

Malaysia charges

The banker also tes­ti­fied that

Yeo had asked his bank to set up trusts and open bank ac­counts for sev­eral en­ti­ties for both Jho Low and his fam­ily mem­bers.

The court was shown a pho­to­graph of Jho Low, Aabar In­vest­ments PJS chair­man Mo­hamed Al Hus­seiny, Jho Low’s as­so­ciate

Eric Tan, and Ami­corp Group CEO Toine Knip­ping, among oth­ers, meet­ing in Bar­ba­dos.

Jho Low’s con­nec­tions to the Caribbean ex­tend to neigh­bour­ing St Kitts, where he is said to be a ci­ti­zen own­ing sev­eral prop­er­ties. At one point there was spec­u­la­tion that he might have been hid­ing out on that is­land.

The charges filed by Malaysian po­lice al­leged that he re­ceived

$260.8 mil­lion be­tween De­cem­ber 2013, and June, 2014, and trans­ferred $188.2 mil­lion be­tween Jan­uary

2014, and June, 2014. The Malaysia govern­ment seized the $250 mil­lion yacht Equa­nim­ity ear­lier this year.

Sin­ga­pore has sep­a­rately charged him with money laun­der­ing and re­ceiv­ing stolen prop­erty.

The US Jus­tice Depart­ment al­leged Jho Low helped siphon off at least $4.5 bil­lion from 1MDB be­tween 2009 and 2015, charg­ing that he and con­spir­a­tors from Asia and the Mid­dle East al­legedly used the pro­ceeds to buy lux­ury homes in the US, fre­quent Las Ve­gas night­clubs and fund Hol­ly­wood movies, among other things.

The US crim­i­nal in­dict­ment against him was un­sealed on No­vem­ber 1.

The Bar­ba­dos Na­tion emailed Juan Ve­lu­tini, CEO, Ami­corp Bank and Trust Ltd, and Ca­reen Leyshon, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Ami­corp Bar­ba­dos, en­quir­ing about this in­for­ma­tion in­volv­ing Jho Low and the bank.

At­tor­ney at law Er­ica Grif­fith sub­mit­ted the fol­low­ing re­sponse: “Our client has in­structed us to in­form you that it is un­able to com­ply with your re­quest as set out in your said email, by rea­son of its obli­ga­tions of con­fi­den­tial­ity un­der the the In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Act.

“We how­ever take this op­por­tu­nity to af­firm that our client is in good stand­ing un­der the laws of Bar­ba­dos. We there­fore urge that you re­frain from pub­lish­ing any ma­te­rial that may in­jure the rep­u­ta­tion of the bank, as it is pre­pared to pur­sue all avail­able le­gal reme­dies to pro­tect its good name and rep­u­ta­tion.”

(GP)

MALAYSIAN ty­coon fugi­tive Low Taek Jho (aka Jho Low). Malaysia’s govern­ment seized his $250 mil­lion yacht Equna­mity ear­lier this year.

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