Low and the 4 former employees of 1MDB are wanted to assist police investigations into the billions of ringgit siphoned from the fund
By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By BLOOMBERG
The Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court yesterday has allowed the arrest and detention of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (picture) and four other individuals closely linked to the state owned fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The arrest warrants for Low, who is popularly known as Jho Low, and four former employees of 1MDB, were issued to assist police investigations into the billions of ringgit siphoned from the fund.
Investigations into the fund which are presently conducted in no less than six countries, focus on the billions received by the fund, through issuance of debt papers but channelled through an intricate web of transactions across the globe.
The money is used for purchases of luxury properties, expensive arts, a plane, a US$250 million yacht and jewellery.
The other four who are now wanted are Low’s close aide Eric Tan Kim Loong, 40, former 1MDB general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, 45, former 1MDB ED Casey Tang Keng Chee, 53, and ex-1MDB official Terence Geh Choh Heng, 47.
The five individuals face moneylaundering charges, said the national news agency Bernama.
An arrest warrant is issued by the judge when there is sufficient evidence or probable cause related to a crime.
In August this year, the Putrajaya Sessions Court issued arrest warrants against Jho Low and his father, Tan Sri Low Hock Peng, to assist investigations related to the 1MDB scandal.
Last month, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) brought criminal charges against Low over the 1MDB scandal. It was the first criminal charges brought against the people linked to the fund.
Low and two former Goldman Sachs bankers were charged with laundering billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB and paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.
The 36-year-old Penang-born businessman is said to be the central figure in the 1MDB scandal.
Low, however, has maintained his innocence against DoJ’s indictment and other allegations. Jho Low’s whereabouts has remained unknown.
This is not the first time Tang and Loo’s names have surfaced in relation to the 1MDB’s investigation.
In July 2015, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) published a “wanted” notice for Tang and Loo to “assist investigation under the Exchange Control Act 1953”.
However, in March 2017, the Finance Ministry said both individuals were dropped from the central bank’s observation list.
The Finance Ministry said investigations against Loo and Tang had been concluded and a fine had been issued to 1MDB under the Financial Services Act 2013. Thus, both individuals were no longer under BNM’s observation.
In June, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had released the photographs of Tan, Loo, Tang and Geh to facilitate its 1MDB investigations.
Meanwhile, earlier news reports suggested that Low and the four individuals were expected to be charged in absentia yesterday. But, no such cases were filed at the courts in Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, Malaysiakini earlier reported that the police were trying to obtain a warrant of arrest against Low following the levelling of five money- laundering charges against him in absentia totalling US$1.03 billion (RM4.28 billion).
Tan is believed to be a key figure in the 1MDB scandal as he was identified as a signatory for numerous bank accounts in RBS Coutts Bank Ltd and Falcon Private Bank Ltd in Singapore where funds from 1MDB accounts were laundered.
According to reports, Tan, who was the front for Low in all his banking transactions involving billions of ringgit from 1MDB, is a family friend and business partner to the latter’s siblings.
He was a shareholder in several companies in Malaysia and Singapore.
Tan’s identity only emerged in public during the trial of a former BSI Bank Ltd’s Singapore banker Yeo Jia Wei, who was sentenced to 54 months’ jail for his role in the 1MDB scandal.
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