Sarawak Report has learnt that Jho Low’s new legal team, headed by the well-connected former federal prosecutor and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, has already obtained a high-level meeting with officials of the DOJ and that at that meeting they offered to come to a settlement on behalf of the fugitive Malaysian advisor to 1MDB.
This would represent an effective acknowledgement by Low, who is currently believed to be holed up in China, that he is unlikely to be able to persuade the US courts to return some $1.2 billion in assets seized from him alone, which investigators have traced to money stolen from Malaysia’s development fund.
However, by cutting a deal the billionaire, who is facing criminal charges in Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland and elsewhere, including the United States, will be hoping to retain some of the value of the assets.
Malaysian entities have expressed concern that the United States authorities may be tempted to negotiate with Jho Low’s new, high-powered legal team, in order to close a case that could otherwise carry on for years. Notably, the US recently refused to grant a Malaysian official request for a guarantee it would return all the money back from the assets seized.
“It doesn’t mean that the United States will not return the money to Malaysia, but it does mean the US is insisting on keeping control over the process and that might include settling the case for less than the entire amount”
one person who is well versed in the matter explained to Sarawak Report. It is further understood that the approach from Jho Low’s team has not yet been formally discussed with the Malaysian authorities, who may very well react with dismay at the prospect of any settlement of this nature.
Particularly galling to Malaysians is the likelihood that Low’s new and well-connected legal advisors are being generously paid by money that was itself stolen from 1MDB. US investigators have been reported as concluding that the origin of the cash received by Christie and one of President Donald Trump’s go-to law firms, Kasowitz Benson Torres, is indeed 1MDB.
Likewise, the money sent to pay the libel lawyers Schillings in the UK, which has been doing its best to disrupt the publising othe the book The Sarawak Report as well as the Wall Street Journal’s own book in Britain, is also thought to trace back to 1MDB.
The apparent willingness of US prosecutors to discuss such matters with Low’s new team and the news that they may indeed be tempted to reach a deal, may indicate that the DOJ sleuths are already focusing on other aspects of the case, informed observers have told Sarawak Report: namely the pursuit of the banking giant Goldman Sachs. Settling the civil action would free up prosecutors to pursue the Goldman bond issues on behalf of 1MDB, which netted the bank suspiciously obscene commissions of up to 11%.
The bank has earned the anger and ill-feeling of countless Americans as a result of its pivotal role in causing the crash of 2008 and yet none of its bankers have been brought to book so far. The apparent negligence and huge sums earned through 1MDB have provided US investigators their most compelling evidence yet against what many believe to be rogue behaviour by the major bank.
It was Sarawak Report that first exposed the huge commissions being earned by Goldman Sachs from 1MDB in 2013, by publishing the terms of two so-called power purchase bonds, which together with a later third offering netted commissions totalling just under $600 million for the bank. The market price for such services was a fraction of that amount.
The fomer South East Asia boss, Tim Leissner has already been picked up in the United States and is understood to be cooperatng with the DOJ enquiries. A new case against the global bank is where 1MDB now seems headed as it gains even more international significance.