Malaysia believes that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho is hiding in Macau, along with others wanted in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal, Al Jazeera has reported, citing the national anti-graft body.
The information was confirmed by several people who had spotted the fugitive, better known as Jho Low, in Macau, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission told Al Jazeera in a written response. They included 1MDB suspect Kee Kok Thiam, who was arrested and released by the MACC earlier this month.
Malaysian authorities have been working to repatriate Jho Low for years. He was first charged in absentia in 2018 by a Malaysian court with eight counts of money laundering and issued a warrant of arrest for his role in the looting of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has accused Low of stealing $1.42 billion from three bond transactions that Goldman Sachs arranged for the Malaysian wealth fund.
A separate Malaysian court in 2020 said Low played a crucial role in transferring 42 million ringgit from a former 1MDB unit to the accounts of former prime minister Najib Razak. Najib is now serving a 12-year prison sentence for his crimes related to 1MDB, and faces several other trials.
In March of this year, Jho Low was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in a Kuwaiti prison for his role in laundering $1 billion stolen from 1MDB through the Middle Eastern country.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on May 5 said Malaysia was negotiating with other countries to expedite Low’s return, while describing the process as complicated.
“It involves other countries, it involves intelligence services, Interpol,” Anwar told reporters that day. He did not reveal the countries involved in the talks, nor confirm Low’s whereabouts.
In 2020, Low struck a deal with US prosecutors to recoup almost $700 million of assets, including a Beverly Hills hotel and real estate in New York and London. That is in addition to $260 million worth of assets, including a $126-million superyacht, seized earlier on Malaysia’s behalf.