DR Mahathir Mohamad’s no-nonsense reputation and tough stance against Low Taek Jho appears to have persuaded the fugitive financier to help in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd probe.
Just days after Dr Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on May 10, he received a hand-delivered letter from the country’s most wanted man, also known as Jho Low.
It is unclear what the contents of the letter were, but if Low thought that he could win brownie points with Dr Mahathir by reaching out to him, he is sorely mistaken.
There was no let-up as the new Pakatan Harapan government went into overdrive on the 1MDB issue. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission put out a notice seeking Low’s help in an ongoing probe into SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.
Almost immediately after came news that a warrant had been issued against Najib Razak’s confidant and a key person of interest in the 1MDB investigations in Singapore and the US.
In the past 48 hours, the financier and his lawyers have reached out to MACC and other government bodies to offer help to the Malaysian government in its probe into the 1MDB scandal.
Government sources told The Malaysian Insight that the cooperation could involve identifying assets overseas that were purchased with funds from the state-owned entity, and repatriating funds or assets.
Low’s lawyers were only willing to say that their client has been in touch with MACC.
It is unclear if follow-up conversations between him and Malaysian authorities will take place in a foreign jurisdiction, or via email or phone call.
What is clear is that Malaysia is willing to make adjustments to hear what he has to say.
Low, whose whereabouts are not publicly known, is a prominent figure in the global investigations into 1MDB. In the past, he had been sighted in Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, China and the Middle East.
But, even Dr Mahathir has conceded that knowing where he is staying and nabbing him are two different matters.
“We are trying to arrest Jho Low, but he is not in the country, and we don’t have extradition rights in the country where he is staying,” the prime minister said recently.
Lawyers said if the financier is in a country where Malaysia has extradition rights, repatriating someone well-represented by top lawyers could take a while.
Equally laborious would be any endeavour to find assets bought using funds embezzled from 1MDB.
So, MACC and other Malaysian authorities are being sensible by opening channels of communication with Low to recover funds and assets related to the 1MDB heist.
Source : The Malaysian Insight