Singapore—Fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, more popularly known as Jho Low, continues to be a wanted man in Singapore, financial publication The Edge Singapore reported on January 11, citing it had gotten confirmation from a spokesman fro the Singapore Police Force.
The Edge Singapore reports the spokesman from the Singapore Police Force as saying, “The charges, warrants of arrest and INTERPOL Red Notices against Low and Tan remain in force. Both remain key persons of interest to Singapore in ongoing 1MDB-related investigations.”
The other individual referred to by the spokesman is Mr Low’s close associate, Tan Kim Loong. Mr Tan’s name had been used in opening accounts with Falcon Bank, which is now defunct, but back then had been the channel for laundering funds from 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad).
Last week, Mr Low made the headlines in Singapore again when The Straits Times (ST) published an interview via email with Mr Low, breaking his silence of almost four years.
In the interview, the Malaysian financier claimed he had merely been an intermediary, and not the mastermind, among the principal actors in the 1MDB scandal, wherein billions of dollars had been siphoned from the sovereign wealth fund.
Mr Low expressed surprise at the inordinate amount of attention he had gotten from the media from the time that the news of scandal had broken, since he said he had no real decision-making power in matters related to 1MDB.
In October 2016, Singapore put Mr Low on the Interpol Red Notice, after the probe into the siphoning of 1MDB funds connected to banks based in Singapore had started. But the public only learned of the Red Notice on the fugitive financier in July 2018, after a report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said that Mr Low had been allowed to depart to Macau from Hong Kong, and that there had been no request for help in keeping him in Hong Kong.
But the Singapore police said then that they had asked for help in detaining the financier, although this request had been denied.
Mr Low’s interview with ST was criticized by at least two parties after it was published.
Wall Street Journal’s Tom Wright tweeted, “Jho Low gives pointless interview to Straits Times without answering multiple charges against him by US and Malaysian authorities. He’s still on the run in China.”
Mr Wright had written the bestselling book Billion Dollar Whale, an exposé about Mr Low’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal, along with fellow journalist Bradley Hope.
The Edge Malaysia printed a critical commentary on January 6 in response to the ST interview, wherein it posed “the obvious questions” that Singapore’s national broadsheet did not ask.
The commentary ends on a scathing note, both toward Mr Low and to ST. “Stop the nonsensical spin you are doing with help from your friends in The Singapore ST. No one believes it anyway. Come back to your country of birth to defend yourself. Don’t run and hide. Only cowards and the guilty do that.”
In the interview that was published in ST, the fugitive financier debunked the portrayal of himself as 1MDB’s “mastermind,” providing the rationale that he has never held any decision-making role at 1MDB or SRC.
Instead, he claims that his assistance was asked for due to his connections with “influential foreign businessmen and decision-makers.”
Mr Low claims that the decision-making responsibilities for 1MDB had been on the shoulders of “management, board and shareholders” who in turn had been advised by “international bankers, lawyers and other independent professionals.” -/TISG