Asia The story behind the sale of the 'Billion Dollar Whale' book

The story behind the sale of the ‘Billion Dollar Whale’ book

The book is currently selling well under an independent distributor in the UK despite threats of libel

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The Economist, in an article on the launch of the book in Britain, says the title of the book is a dry for something that is likely the heist of the century. The story depicts the battle to prevent the book from selling in the UK.

The UK has strict libel laws that blocked the sale of the book but since September 12, the book is selling like hotcakes after a new distributor took the challenge to get it on the shelf in bookstores.

Most of the bookstores were scared because of a massive campaign of disinformation and threats of libel against anyone who distributes, sells or exposes the material in the UK.

But legal threats are still looming on the sale of the book in the UK, says The Economist.

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The 1MDB affair which involves the alleged theft of $4.5bn from the Malaysian state development fund, has felled a Malaysian prime minister, ensnared Goldman Sachs and embarrassed Hollywood bigwigs, the magazine wrote.

It says the book is an impeccably researched book on the scandal—by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope of the Wall Street Journal.

The Economist calls Jho Low, “a baby-faced Malaysian playboy who American prosecutors allege was the mastermind of the misappropriation.”

Jho Low is a fugitive businessman sought by Interpol and believed to be hiding in China. He is charged with money-laundering-related offences in America and Malaysia.

The Economist says Hachette, the publisher of the book had problems with its local British arm that declined to distribute it in the UK because of legal threats from several people the book mentions.

Scribe, an independent house took the challenge despite an ongoing campaign led by Schillings, a British law firm acting for Mr Low, which threatened the publisher and distributors as well as booksellers.

Some of these letters were hand-delivered, saying accusations in the book against Jho Low were “outrageously defamatory” and that selling the book would potentially interfere “in the proper administration of justice in the United States”.

But so far, Jho Low has failed to sue Hachette, Scribe, Wright and Hope, or anyone else involved.

Nevertheless, people are appalled at how a man on the run and in the Interpol ‘Red Notice Corner’ is able to lead a campaign to ban a book from selling the UK.

However, the book has been widely distributed on Whatsapp and other social media messaging services in Southeast Asia and perhaps in most countries of the world.-/TISG

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