Putrajaya Sessions Court yesterday issued warrants of arrest against Jho Low and his father, Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng, to enable the duo to be detained abroad to face money-laundering charges related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
The warrants against Jho Low, 37, and his father, 66, were issued after the Sessions Court approved an application filed by the police Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers against the duo, who had fled abroad.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police will submit a Red Notice request to Interpol to track, capture and bring them back to face the charges.
Based on the charge sheet presented to the courts, Low faces eight individual charges under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 for receiving and transferring funds obtained from money-laundering activities.
Low’s father faces one charge of transferring US$56 million derived from money-laundering activities to his son under the same act. In total, the funds totalled US$261 million (RM1 billion) while the transferred amount involved US$196 million.
Pressure will mount on elusive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, and his father as their movements will be restricted following the request by Malaysian police to Interpol to issue a red notice to arrest them, lawyers said.
They said both should be handed over to Malaysian police if law enforcement agencies outside Malaysia were prepared to hunt them if they are hiding in an Interpol-member country.
However, they said any attempt to bring them to face trial could be frustrated if the foreign nation concerned refused to co-operate.
Lawyer SN Nair said the warrant of arrest obtained by police against Jho Low and his father, Low Hock Peng, yesterday had facilitated Interpol to issue the notice.
“Interpol member countries should look for the father and son as there is a warrant of arrest issued against them now,” he said.
Nair said the warrant of arrest obtained against Jho Low and his father was a significant development that the long arm of the law was catching up with the two.
The lawyer said this in response to police registering criminal charges against Jho Low and his father with embezzling funds allegedly stolen from state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Jho Low is scheduled to face eight charges under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.
Three charges were for receiving money and the remaining five were for transferring the cash.
The father faces one charge of transferring US$56 million to his son.
The charges were filed against the two in their absence at the Sessions Court registry in Putrajaya yesterday.
Following this, police have also obtained warrants of arrest against the two from the court.
Lawyer N Sivananthan said the two men could now be extradited if caught in a foreign jurisdiction.
“Their movements will be restricted as police in other jurisdictions will be put on alert and will arrest the two if they are hiding in their country,” he said.
He said Jho Low and his father would also be careful when travelling to another country as they could be arrested upon landing due to the red notice.
However, Sivananthan said their arrest could be an uphill task if the Interpol member country refused to execute the warrant of arrest.
“If that is the case, the father and son could continue to live there for as long as they wish,” he added.
According to media reports, the two were currently believed to be in either China or Abu Dhabi.
Council of Eminent Persons chairman Daim Zainuddin said the government was aware of the whereabouts of Jho Low.
“We know his whereabouts. The last time he was in Macau.
“I think the government knows where he is,” he said earlier this week at a press conference to announce that the CEP had completed its 100-day mandate.
China is still seen as the preferred hideout for fugitive businessmen Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.
Although China, one of the most powerful countries in the world, is a member of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), it is likely to ignore the red notice issued by Interpol.
There are 14 countries which are not the members of Interpol, namely Bhutan, Kiribati, North Korea, Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, San Marino, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vatican.
Geostrategist Azmi Hassan said Jho Low might utilise the current situation between China and Malaysia as an opportunity to use the republic as a hideout.
It is learnt that Jho Low’s grandfather, Datuk Low Meng Tak, was said to have originated from Guangdong, one of the largest province in China.
“Jho Low may take advantage of the current relationship between Malaysia and China following the cancellation of several mega projects.
“It is believed that he also has support to continue his daily life there as he has a millionaire grandfather in China.
“Another important reason is that when it comes to Interpol’s Red Notice, sometimes powerful country such as China and Russia may sometimes ignore the notice as Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual,” he said when contacted today.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Law Faculty Associate Professor Dr Salawati Mat Basir said Interpol’s Red Notice was only part of the extradition process.
She said Jho Low could choose any country that did not have extradition treaty with Malaysia.
“The red notice is to inform all Interpol members about the individual being sought, and if the individual is detected to be in the country of an Interpol member, they can make the arrest.
“However, not all Interpol members have an extradition treaty with Malaysia. For example only Singapore and Brunei have extradition treaties with Malaysia.
“So, a country that does not have the extradition treaty will have the final say whether to hand over the wanted individual to the requesting country.
“Malaysia can apply for extradition through political discretion. This is where it is crucial for Malaysia to appoint a representative to discuss with any country where Jho Low is hiding,” she said.