Malaysia fi­nancier faces new charges in 1MDB scan­dal

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

KUALA LUMPUR: Fugi­tive Malaysian fi­nancier Low Taek Jho is fac­ing new charges of laun­der­ing more than $1.0 bil­lion, in a mas­sive cor­rup­tion scan­dal sur­round­ing state fund 1MDB, po­lice said on Wed­nes­day.

The ex­traor­di­nary 1MDB con­tro­versy al­legedly saw bil­lions looted from a Malaysian govern­ment in­vest­ment fund, fu­elling a world­wide spend­ing spree in­clud­ing on su­per yachts and Van Gogh art­work. Low, com­monly known as Jho Low, is ac­cused of play­ing a cen­tral role in plun­der­ing the in­vest­ment fund.

He was an as­so­ciate of Malaysia’s for­mer leader Na­jib Razak, whose govern­ment lost power in May in large part due to al­le­ga­tions that the then pre­mier was in­volved in the vast fraud.

Since be­ing ousted, Na­jib has been hit with a bar­rage of charges linked to the scan­dal. He de­nies any wrong­do­ing.

The new money laun­der­ing charges, al­legedly com­mit­ted be­tween 2009 and 2014, were filed in a court in the cap­i­tal Kuala Lumpur on Tues­day.

Be­sides Low, 37, four oth­ers linked to 1MDB in­clud­ing a busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ager and a fi­nance di­rec­tor were also hit with charges in­clud­ing crim­i­nal breach of trust.

“An ar­rest war­rant has been ob­tained from the court and ef­forts are be­ing in­ten­si­fied to ar­rest the five in­di­vid­u­als who have left Malaysia,” Mo­hamad Fuzi Harun, in­spec­tor-gen­eral of po­lice, said in a state­ment.

The ad­di­tional charges in­clude five for al­legedly laun­der­ing $1.03 bil­lion and an­other two for laun­der­ing $126 mil­lion.

In the past, Malaysian of­fi­cials have said that Low could be holed up in China af­ter he fled Ma­cau, where he was last known to be.

The fugi­tive fi­nancier said through his spokesman on Tues­day that he was in­no­cent, adding that he will “not sub­mit to any ju­ris­dic­tion where guilt has been pre­de­ter­mined by pol­i­tics and there is no in­de­pen­dent le­gal process.” Malaysian po­lice in Au­gust had filed eight charges against Low and one against his father Low Hock Peng, all re­lated to money laun­der­ing.

Last month the US Jus­tice De­part­ment also an­nounced charges against Low, an al­leged mas­ter­mind and an in­ter­me­di­ary to the Malaysian fund.

Low Taek Jho

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