Kuala Lumpur — The Malaysian police chief told journalists yesterday (Dec 23) that he would not be able to fulfill his promise to bring in fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, who is better known as Jho Low, by Christmas because of “dishonest” foreign authorities.
Openly expressing his disappointment, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said: “In bilateral ties with police in other countries, we expect honesty in terms of co-operation. There must be a spirit of reciprocity. But this is where I’m disappointed. I expected honest co-operation. But there has been no honesty.”
However, he has promised that he will continue his efforts to bring Low to justice. He said he is “not relaxing”.
“I vow to never give up on my efforts to bring him to book. We will also double our efforts to seize assets and items purchased using stolen funds,” he added.
The police chief said that he hoped that people have not run out of patience with him. “I can’t continue to be disappointed. I have promised to work hard in bringing this criminal back before the end of the year, and I am not relaxing.
“I am using various departments within the police force to work towards bringing him back. I hope the people can be patient.”
Jho Low, a Malaysian banker, has been identified as the central figure in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, wherein approximately S$6 billion was said to have been siphoned from a sovereign wealth fund. Low has been at large for more than a year now, although he maintains his innocence through his lawyers and via statements on his website.
He has said that he refuses to return to Malaysia since he believes that it is impossible for him to get a fair trial in his home country.
According to his lawyers, he is currently in a country that “acts in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights”.
Low, who for years was known for his lavish lifestyle and for hobnobbing with the Hollywood elite, has been wanted in Singapore, the United States, as well as in Malaysia, and is believed to have gone from one country to another to evade capture.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is currently on trial for corruption, graft and money-laundering in connection with the 1MDB scandal. He has pointed the finger at Low as the chief perpetrator in the siphoning of sovereign wealth funds.
IGP Abdul Hamid said in November that the fugitive banker was “hiding like a chicken” in a particular island where he was under the protection of state authorities. This island, he claimed, had a history of having cooperated with Malaysia on police matters.
It was recently speculated that the noose may be tightening around the fugitive banker, since his passports in both Cyprus and Saint Kitts and Nevis have been revoked.
Regarding the country where Low is allegedly located, the police chief decried its “lack of sincerity” in turning over Low, even though he has reached out to his counterpart in that country time and again.
“We wrote to them a few times and even met them, but they have not been sincere with us.
“We told them that we have information that Jho Low is in their country but they refused to even acknowledge the fact.” -/TISG