Recordings of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho’s conversations with government officials under the Pakatan Harapan administration have been published in an Al Jazeera documentary.
In the clips contained in the two-part special investigation titled “Jho Low: Hunt For A Fugitive”, Low, better known as Jho Low, turns on the others connected to the 1MDB scandal.
“I don’t believe there’s any wrongdoing,” says the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB scandals.
He suggests that he borrowed billions from 1MDB to buy luxury items, including high-end real estate, art pieces, a private jet and a mega-yacht.
Separately, he has been convicted on seven charges of corruption relating to 1MDB subsidiary SRC International. Najib, who has denied wrongdoing in the scandal, is appealing this conviction.
“All these ultimately were loans, directly or indirectly, but, ultimately, I think the time has come, we want to assist in repatriating these assets back in return for cooperating and moving on with life without, you know, being prosecuted,” he says.
But former FBI special agent Debra LaPrevotte, who was involved in the 1MDB investigation, dismisses Low’s claim, saying if there was no wrongdoing, he would not want to return assets nor would they be seized in the first place.
In the recordings, Low also blames former prime minister and finance minister Najib Razak for the 1MDB scandal, saying he (Low) had no authority to make any decision.
Najib is facing 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.
Low also claims the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government was complicit in the scandal.
He also says he was in China when he agreed to meet Malaysian investigators in Hong Kong or Macau, but this never happened as he fled to UAE a day before the meeting.
The report notes that despite having two Interpol Red Notices against him, and his Malaysian and St Kitts and Cyprus passports cancelled, Low was able to travel, including to Thailand, UAE and India.
Another former FBI special agent who led the 1MDB investigation, Bill McMurry, says this was only possible through “corruption and through extremely high-level government assistance”.