The Journal says Trump allies wanted millions to end 1MDB probe

2459
Trump seen among Arab an Asian leaders in Riyadh- Photo Credit: Internet Grab

The Wall Street Journal said it has evidence showing a close ally to US President Donald Trump apparently asked as much as S$75 million (S$99.2 million) from fugitive Jho Low.

The aim was to stop investigations into the 1MDB by the US Department of Justice or DOJ.

The US business daily broke the news by reviewing a cache of emails from Mr Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist and a long-time Republican donor, and his wife, Robin Rosenzweig, a lawyer.

The Journal said the messages include draft agreements between Ms Rosenzweig’s California law firm and representatives of Mr Low about the possible terms of their business engagement.

In one draft, there is a proposal that includes a US$75 million fee if the Justice Department quickly drops its investigation.

The WSJ said the emails “discuss setting up a consulting contract with Jho Low”, as the Malaysian businessman is known.

He is at the centre of the 1MDB scandal, which has shone a spotlight on the fund’s prime mover, Prime Minister Najib RazakAdvertisement

Both Mr Najib and Mr Low have denied any wrongdoing in the scandal engulfing 1MDB, which is now run by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Last week a luxurious yacht said to belong to Jho Low was seized by the FBI in a brazen operation in waters of Indonesia.

Jho Low denies any wrong doing in the 1MDB scandal, which is deemed the biggest kleptocratic and money laundering scandal in the world’s history.

“Along with the contract drafts, the emails also appear to show Mr Broidy prepared talking points for Malaysia’s prime minister ahead of a 2017 visit to Washington that included a meeting with Mr Trump and other officials.

“In the talking points, the prime minister was advised to state that Malaysia wanted to emphasise its work with the US in confronting North Korea, while also arguing against the US legal pursuit of the 1MDB matter.

“It isn’t clear what, if anything, came of the talking points,” the WSJ reported.

Mr Najib visited Mr Trump at the White House last September.

Several ex-editors of mainstream newspapers in Malaysia lambasted their former employers for not carrying the story of the yacht seizure.

Malaysian newspapers have imposed an almost complete blackout of the 1MDB scandal, with exception to some articles that does not refer to PM Najib Razak at all.