November 29, 2020

Jho Low sought refuge in Cayman Islands after 1MDB scandal broke

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From The Malaysian Insight

AFTER news broke about allegations of large-scale embezzlement in 1 Development Berhad, one of financier ’s main concerns was in finding a safe haven, a new cache of leaked emails revealed.

One of the countries Low, better known as Jho Low, considered was the , according to leaked emails from his lawyer, reported online news site Malaysiakini.

In an email dated August 11, 2015, Low’s UK-based lawyer Demelza Hassani contacted the offshore law firm Appleby’s Cayman Islands office to enquire about extradition laws there and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), claiming that her client was the subject of “politically motivated financial allegations”.

“We are seeking advice in the event that the Malaysian authorities request the Cayman/BVI authorities to initiate extradition proceedings. Specifically, we would like advice on the position if a warrant for our client’s arrest were to be issued or an Interpol red notice issued during his stay.

“We would like to gauge whether Cayman/BVI would be considered a relatively safe place to travel to in the foreseeable future or whether you would advise the client to avoid entering the jurisdiction.

“It would be useful to understand more generally, the appetite in Cayman/BVI to extradite, particularly in the circumstances of politically motivated financial allegations,” she said.

In an email sent a day earlier on August 10, Hassani said Low was “concerned” about his exposure following allegations of his role in embezzling billions of dollars from 1MDB.

has recently been the subject of allegations of financial wrongdoing in Malaysia,” she said.

“Given the nature of the allegations being made in Malaysia, Mr Low is concerned about his global exposure and is seeking expert advice on international law (including mutual legal assistance requests and/or global restraint orders),” Hassani said in the email.

The emails were sent a month after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an expose which directly implicated Low and Prime Minister Najib Razak in the 1MDB scandal.

Hassani also asked whether the Cayman Islands and BVI had any bilateral or multilateral extradition treaty, and if so, what it might entail.

In case there were no such treaty, she asked whether the two jurisdictions had ever extradited anyone on an informal, ad hoc basis.

The emails have emerged as part of the findings of the Paradise Papers released by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which was behind the Panama Papers made public last year.

Last week, Malaysian Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali said he has askedpolice to reopen the investigation into 1MDB because he is dissatisfied with their report.

He declined to say why he was dissatisfied or whether Low figured in the decision to reopen the 1MDB police probe.

The A-G said in June none of the investigations conducted in various jurisdictions, including the United States and Singapore, revealed evidence that 1MDB funds were misappropriated.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is among those that have launched probes into the troubled state investment fund.

The DoJ recently said it was launching a criminal investigation into alleged embezzlement and money laundering in 1MDB after calling for the suspension of its civil suit to seize assets worth US$4.5 billion (RM19 billon) that it claims were bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

The DoJ has also named Low as being central to its investigations. – November 6, 2017.

IMAGE:(From left) Producers Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland and Low Taek Jho at the The Wolf Of Wall Street premiere at in New York in December 2013. Low was looking for a safe haven after news broke out about 1Malaysia Development Berhad. – AFP pic, August 11, 2017

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