It looks like everyone’s “favourite” financier Low Taek Jho or known as Jho Low is starting to feel the heat on him, now that the government in Malaysia has changed hands. One of his latest moves to try to get the authorities off his back is to strike a plea bargain with our seventh prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that a source said Low offered to drop his claim to more than US$1 billion (RM3.9 billion) in assets in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution. However, Dr Mahathir rejected the offer, which was communicated through intermediaries and the hunt continues for the elusive fugitive, as he is wanted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Before the historical defeat of Dato Seri Najib Razak’s administration on May 9, Low said that he “felt safe” as he was protected by the prime minister of Malaysia. Now, Najib and his family are being investigated for connections to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal where they are busy fighting off their own threats of arrest.
Dr Mahathir told WSJ that he could not absolve Low of responsibility for the 1MDB scandal in return for his cooperation in tracking down where the money went as it was against Malaysia’s laws.
“I’m quite sure the kind of incentive he would readily accept is that he would not be prosecuted. But we can’t do that. It’s against the law. The law does not provide for what American law provides – plea bargaining and all that,” Mahathir explained.
He said that the 1MDB investigations are still going strong, but the process takes time as they need strong evidence. “The ultimate goal is for prosecutors to charge Najib if there is enough evidence to warrant it, but the process will take time. Until they find concrete evidence that will stand up in a court of law, they won’t be able to do anything,” he added.
Previously, lawsuits filed from the Justice Department had alleged that Low was the ringleader in the 1MDB fiasco and had stolen vast amounts of money. Now that he knows MACC is looking for him, it was reported that he is wiling to cooperate but only wants to meet with 1MDB investigators in Dubai although the date is not set.
WSJ also reported that Low had been residing in various parts of Asia ever since including Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. Currently, Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with China, but has been using back-channel communications with Beijing to get Low back to Malaysia.
Time’s running out for you, Jho Low!
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