By FARA AISYAH
The authorities are on a manhunt while seeking international help to detain Low Taek Jho and four others, who had been charged in absentia for money laundering totalling US$1.17 billion (RM4.86 billion) linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The fugitive businessman better known as Jho Low; his close aide Eric Tan Kim Loong, 40; former 1MDB ED Casey Tang Keng Chee, 53; former 1MDB general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, 45; and ex-1MDB official Terence Geh Choh Heng, 47, were indicted in absentia over 13 money laundering and criminal breach of trust charges.
The five, accused of various crimes related to 1MDB where billions had been siphoned through intricate web of money transfers, had left the country and their whereabouts are unknown.
Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the police will get cooperation from the authorities in other countries, as well as the Interpol to track the individuals.
“If they are found to be in any other country, the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers will take action to request their extradition, so that they can be brought back to Malaysia to face charges in court,” he said in a statement.
Jho Low, who was alleged to be the central figure in the 1MDB scandal, had been charged with five counts of money laundering involving transfers totalling US$1.03 billion into a Swiss bank account between Sept 30, 2009, and Oct 25, 2011.
He also faced two more money laundering charges with Tan for receiving US$126 million in a Singapore- based bank account in May 2009.
Tang was charged with one money laundering case involving transfers totalling US$700 million into Jho Low’s Swiss bank account, as well as two criminal breach of trust offences involving US$6.7 million funds.
Loo was charged with two criminal breach of trust offences involving US$6 million fund, while Geh was charged with money laundering involving transfers totalling US$125 million to Jho Low’s Swiss bank account.
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 the Penang-born businessman over the 1MDB scandal. It was the first such criminal charges brought against the people linked to the fund.
Jho Low and two former Goldman Sachs Group Inc bankers were charged with laundering billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB and paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.
Jho Low, however, has maintained his innocence against DoJ’s indictment and other allegations. He also said he would not be tried in the country.