A Kuwaiti court has ruled that Jho Low, also known as Low Taek Jho, the Malaysian core figure in the 1MDB scandal, was guilty of money laundering in the country and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
According to a report by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, the Criminal Court presided over by Judge Faisal Al-Harbi, sentenced a sheikh and his partner, along with two fugitives, the Syrian-French businessman Bashar Kiwan and the Malaysian national, to 10 years in prison over charges related to their involvement in the case, dubbed the “Malaysian Fund”.
Additionally, a lawyer was also sentenced to 7 years in prison for the same charge.
The Kuwaiti Criminal Court considered that the crime of money laundering was established against the defendants, and then issued a sentence of imprisonment and a fine.
“The Public Prosecution charged the defendants “as an organized criminal group” with committing the crime of money laundering in Chinese currency equivalent to RMB 343 million and 700 thousand Kuwaiti dinars, knowing that these funds are obtained from crimes and theft of funds and investments of the Malaysian sovereign fund.”
They were also ordered to repay US$1 billion (approximately RM4.4 billion) and pay 145 million Kuwaiti dinars (RM2 billion) in fines.
Meanwhile, the Sarawak Report stated that the monies involved in the “Malaysian Fund ” came from 1MDB. The report also confirmed that the sheikh involved was Sheikh Sabah Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the son of Kuwait’s former prime minister.
The sheikh’s partner was identified as a college friend of Jho Low’s and continuing business partner, Hamad Al Wazan, and the Kuwaiti lawyer was Saud Abdelmohsan.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2020 that investigators had discovered a sum of money transferred from China to a Chinese bank in Kuwait and then to a company owned by Jho Low in the Cayman Islands.
Nearly US$1 billion had been transferred back to a Malaysian company controlled by Jho Low to repay part of 1MDB’s debt.
Low fled to Kuwait in September 2019 and transferred a significant amount of money, despite an Interpol red notice being issued. He managed to evade investigation by using his contacts in Kuwait.
Jho Low wanted by Interpol, The Red Notice still active
Low has been hiding from legal enforcement agencies since 2018, when he was charged in Malaysia and the United States for his alleged role in the 1MDB embezzlement scandal.
On 14 March 2023, Malaysia’s Home Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, confirmed that Low and five other individuals linked to the 1MDB scandal, namely Terence Geh Choh Heng, Casey Tang Keng Chee, Jasmine Loo, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, and Eric Tan Kim Loong, remain elusive, and no Interpol member country has confirmed the presence of these individuals in their countries.
He stressed that Interpol’s Red Notice is “still active and in effect to this day” for Low and five other individuals linked to the 1MDB scandal.
“However, out of the 195 Interpol member countries, no country has confirmed the presence of those individuals named in their countries,” he said in a written parliamentary reply.
“Until today, the police are still in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States, Singapore authorities, and enforcement agencies from other countries which are also carrying out investigation on 1MDB funds to obtain any information that could help in the tracing and arresting of all individuals named above,” the minister said.
Malaysia’s Home Minister had, through the Malaysian police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), filed charges in absentia against Low and other fugitives at the magistrate’s courts in Putrajaya and in Kuala Lumpur.
In Sept 2022, Tom Wright, the author of ‘Billion Dollar Whale”, suggested that Low might be hiding in Macau, China.
We reveal new photos of Jho Low in Macau with his Chinese handler (2nd from right). We also put out a wanted poster in Chinese, and explain how he really stole $8 billion. More info in thread. Ep 4 of The Search For Jho Low out now on our @youtube channel.https://t.co/eJ3WfvGMsi pic.twitter.com/HmC0Bmpari
— Tom Wright (@TomWrightAsia) September 22, 2022