IGP has more knowledge of Jho Low’s whereabouts, says Dr Mahathir

If the IGP says he knows where Jho Low is, then he must have known more about where the person is, says PM

pic by BERNAMA

PRIME Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador (picture) has more information of businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low’s whereabouts, amid reports that the government is still negotiating to bring back the fugitive businessman.

“I can’t say anything on behalf of the IGP. If he said he knows where he (Jho Low) is, then he must have known more about where the person is,” Dr Mahathir told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

On Sunday, Bernama reported Hamid as saying that the police are still negotiating with authorities of a certain country to bring back Jho Low.

“However, negotiations are in progress with the authorities of the country,” Abdul Hamid was quoted as saying.

“I hope the authorities in the country where Jho Low is hiding understand the need for our police to bring him back to face the law in Malaysia,” he added.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the proceeds from the sale of superyacht Equanimity (now known as Tranquility) to Genting Malaysia Bhd will be deposited into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) recovery account next month.

Lim said the US$126 million (RM527.4 million) purchase price is currently kept in a sheriff stakeholders account, under the purview of a prominent legal firm for three months.

This is to allow the legal team to gazette the receipt of payment for taxation of costs and determination of priorities for payment out of the proceeds, as stipulated in the Orders of Court.

“The balance will then be deposited into a segregated 1MDB asset recovery account under the Finance Ministry in August. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay off 1MDB’s debt commitments,” Lim told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said this in response to a question from Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Barisan Nasional-Machang) who asked the minister to state the net worth from the sales of the Equanimity and where the money will be channelled to.

To date, 1MDB’s total debt stands at RM51.01 billion, Lim said. This comprises the principal debt of RM40.57 billion and interest amounting to RM10.44 billion.

“We hope to get back the losses and compensation from various parties including Goldman Sachs Group Inc and if we look at assets, the value including real estate assets cannot be estimated as the legal matters have not been completed,” Lim said.

He added that the overall value of assets owned by 1MDB could not be easily determined as 1MDB had appointed three different audit firms under the previous administration.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which is spearheading efforts for Malaysia to recover assets linked to 1MDB, had previously estimated that there are US$5 billion worth of foreign assets tied to the controversial investment fund.

To date, a total of RM919 million worth of assets linked to 1MDB have been recovered, including funds recouped from Red Granite Pictures and millions of dollars received from the stake sale in New York’s Park Lane Hotel.

Additionally, Lim expressed hope that the government’s effort to detoxify the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) will result in positive earnings when the project matures in seven years.

“Upon maturity, we hope to see capital returns of at least RM3 billion and some profit. But, we don’t know that for sure. We will have to see how the market is like five to seven years from now,” he said.

The TRX project has a gross development value of RM40 billion and is composed of 70 acres (28.33ha) of land.

Upon completion, the development will house the headquarters for HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd, Affin Bank Bhd, Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd, as well as residential units, a 10-acre park and a mall.