The 1MDB case continues to unfold in Malaysia as the Malaysian police filed the first set of criminal charges against Low Taek Jho a.k.a Kho Low and his father over money allegedly stolen from 1 Malaysia Development Bhd. The Edge Market reports that the charged were filed in absentia as Jho Low continues to evade Malaysian authorities.
The Edge Markets quoted a source who said that the next step was to seek extradition for the businessman once he is found. Arrest warrants have been issued for both men. Father of Jho Low, Tan Sri Larry Low, was apparently charged under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act for transferring USD56 million to his son.
Jho Low is an associate of former Prime Minister Najib Razak and family and according to reports, he had great influence over the management of 1MDB finances though he held no officiant position with the company. In interviews, Jho Low has denied his involvement in the embezzlement of millions of ringgit from 1MDB and urged that his wealth was an inheritance.
Najib Razak, who founded 1MDB, has been battling the 1MDB scandal since 2015 when he was accused of channelling over RM.26 billion from the 1MDB fund into his personal bank account. Leaked email correspondences revealed that Jho Low siphoned millions from the fund and used the money to pay Malaysian government officials and fund his own lavish lifestyle.
The scandal is now an international case involving many countries including the US, Switzerland, Hong Kong, the UAE, Australia, Singapore and more who have been investigating the movement of 1MDB fund through their shores. In July of 2016, the US Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against an unnamed high ranking Malaysian government official (many believe to be Najib Razak) and later moved to seize more than US1 billion in assets around the country including high-end properties, fine art work, and a luxury yacht.
While still in office, the Attorney General appointed by Najib’s administration declared that his investigation proved that the then-Prime Minister did nothing wrong, thus the investigation was concluded even as other nations were still conducting their own independent investigations.
Ever since the new government took office in Malaysia earlier in May, previously withheld reports have been released by the Ministry of Finance that reveal just how deep the corruption ran in connection with 1MDB. Current Prime Minister Mahathir reopened the probe against 1MDB, saying that there is enough evidence for a renewed investigation.
And so the case continues with these latest charges.