Kuala Lumpur—On Saturday, March 23, the three-story bungalow worth S$ 5M reportedly belonging to fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho was seized by police. Mr Low immediately issued a statement on his website, saying that the notice of seizure was carried out as “yet another example of the Mahathir regime’s ‘trial by media’.”
The beige coloured property, is located in Tanjung Bungah Park in Penang and reportedly named ‘El Nitsjo’ allegedly belongs to the family of Mr Low, specifically his 66-year-old mother, Goh Gaik Ewe.
Mrs Goh is among the list of people sought by the authorities as the investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) progresses.
Officials from Bukit Aman’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Prevention division went to ‘El Nitsjo’ on Thursday, March 21, and posted a notice of seizure from the Attorney General’s Chambers dated January 17, 2019, doing so in accordance with Malaysia’s sub-section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.
According to the notice, “It’s hereby ordered that such immovable property be seized by the investigating officer and all dealings in respect of such immovable property are prohibited. Take notice that failure to comply with this notice is an offence under the Act”.
Mr Low has taken exception to the seizure of his property, as well as how it was carried out. First, the statement claimed that the Tanjung Bungah Park property had been constructed about two decades ago, in the first term of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad.
He pointed out that this was more than ten years even before the 1MDB scandal occurred, at a point in time when Mr Low was still in his teenage years.
Next, he also said that the government of Malaysia had never shown any interest in the property in the twenty years since it’s been in their possession.
Therefore, “This purported seizure of a property unconnected to any of the allegations is a blatant demonstration of Mahathir’s politicisation of the issues and is yet another example of the regime’s practice of usurping the rule of law, further demonstrating that Mr. Low cannot get a fair trial,” according to the statement on Mr Low’s website.
Since the Malaysian financier has been at large for some time now, his primary means of communication has been via statements on his website from his legal team.
Lastly, the statement from Mr Low alleged the seizure of his property shows that the administration of Dr Mahathir only wishes to “score ‘political wins’” through trying to hit at Mr Low “through whatever means possible, irrespective of the law or basic human rights.”
According to the Star Online, people who live in the same neighborhood as Mr Low’s property have seen drivers and domestic helpers going in and out of the house. Reports also say that there is uncollected mail in the letterbox of ‘El Nitsjo.’
Mr Low has been accused of having stolen as well as laundered billions of dollars from 1MDB and paid for a campaign to stop the investigation into the scandal. He was charged with money laundering and thievery in New York’s federal court in 2018.
He is one of the central figures in the 1MDB scandal but declared his innocence last December, at the same time that criminal charges in connection to 1MDB were filed against US finance giant Goldman Sachs.
He declared his innocence through a spokesman, Wells Haslem Mayhew Strategic Public Affairs co-CEO Benjamin Haslem, his legal representatives, on December 17. The statement was also published on Low’s website.
On his part, Dr. Mahathir has said that the fugitive businessman has nothing to be afraid of should he return to Malaysia to stand trial, if indeed he is guiltless, which Low and his legal team insist he is.
In a press conference last December, Dr. Mahathir said that the government does not step in with judicial matters and that judges in Malaysia are “fair.”
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