‘Six degrees of separation’ is a long-standing popular theory that everyone, or everything, is just six social connections away from each other.
A few weeks ago a report was published from a US-based non-government organization saying that former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak hired American companies linked to President Donald Trump in order to clean up his image in the wake of the 1MDB scandal. And now, here is another possible link between the 1MDB scandal and President Trump, perhaps an even closer one this time.
The Justice Department of the United States recently revealed that it is investigating a US $100,000 donation to Trump’s Victory PAC in 2017, due to possible links to Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Mr Low is the Malaysian financier at the heart of the 1MDB scandal. He is currently at large and is wanted both in Malaysia and the United States, and is widely believed to be in China.
The 1MDB scandal is one of the biggest corruption cases in history. 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is the state-owned investment fund founded by Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Najib Razak. Several individuals have been accused of corruption and money laundering in connection with S$6 billion worth of funds from 1MDB.
The scandal also took down Tim Leissner, a banker who had been Goldman Sachs’s South East Asia head. Before that, he had been head of investment banking in Singapore.
The US$100,000 donation in question was made by Larry Davis in December 2017, to the Trump Victory political action committee (PAC), which is the campaign to re-elect Mr Trump in 2020. Mr Davis is the owner of LNS Capital.
The WSJ reported that the US Department of Justice is trying to determine whether an amount of S$2 million was transferred by Mr Low to LNS Capital in June 2017.
Since Mr Low is not an American citizen, he is not allowed to make either direct or indirect donations to US politicians or to their PACs.
Mr Low, according to the WSJ, denied via an email that he is acquainted with Mr Davis. He also denied knowledge of Mr Davis’ donation to President Trump’s re-election campaign fund, which also contributes funds toward the Republican National Committee (RNC) and other Republican campaigns.
According to the WSJ, US$60,000 of the donation from Davis was channeled to the RNC, US$5,400 went to the campaign to re-elect the president. The remaining amount was channelled to other campaigns.
According to a spokeswoman for the RNC, Cassie Smedile, the Trump Victory does not accept contributions from corporations or foreign nationals in accordance with the law. We vehemently deny any wrongdoing on the part of the RNC or Trump Campaign.”
And Mr Low has spoken out as well, through his lawyers. In an email to CNBC, Robin Rathmell, a legal representative for Mr Low, wrote, “Mr Low categorically denies having made any of the alleged donations mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article.
These allegations are completely false and without any basis at all – as the Wall Street Journal was informed before publishing them.
Mr Low has never entered into any agreement and/or paid (or authorised payment of) any money to the entities referred to in the Wall Street Journal article as supposedly having made political donations. Indeed, Mr Low had never heard of LNS or Larry Davis until referenced by the Wall Street Journal. It is disappointing that the Wall Street Journal chose to ignore legal privilege and publish an email that was clearly sent in error.”
Mr Low, as well as former Prime Minister Najib Razak, have been in the news again recently. On April 3, Wednesday, Mr Low’s luxury superyacht Equanimity, which had been seized by the Malaysian government, was finally sold for US $126 million.
On the same day, Mr Najib appeared in court for the first day of his 1MDB trial, where he stands accused of corruption and money laundering in connection with the state fund.
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