Almost exactly one year ago, New York lawyers from the firm Kobre & Kim, who had already creamed millions out of 1MDB’s stolen money representing Jho Low, were cruising round KL trying to strike a deal with the coup coalition government to buy his freedom.
The proposal, negotiated by Najib’s own discredited former AG Apandi, was that Jho would hand over a staggering $1.5 billion in return for the dropping of all charges against him, a lifting of the INTERPOL Red Notice and letting him travel to ‘settle his affairs’.
That sum must therefore represent the minimum amount still hidden from the global asset search to which Jho Low at that time reckoned he had access. He must have been desperate to get out of China.
Fast forward to recent weeks and days under the latest elected government and there have been a number of announcements by Malaysian law enforcers indicating they still know where the fugitive is and are close to laying hands on him.
Just last week, the IGP, Razarudin Husain, proclaimed the fugitive could be returned to Malaysia “any time” following what he described as the successful arrest of the fraudster’s key legal counsel, Jasmine Loo, who has just fled China and given herself up (there is no evidence that these events owed to the sleuthing of the Malaysian police).
Sarawak Report is less confident of such an outcome, despite on-going reports that Jho Low remains in Macau (where SR did pinpoint him back in 2018 hiding in a hill top mansion belonging to a political tycoon). We suspect he has likely moved since and we strongly suspect he will find it hard to ever leave China.
There are numerous reasons why the most powerful totalitarian state in the world is unlikely to contemplate allowing Jho Low to leave that country, let alone give evidence in a Malaysian courtroom – then to be inevitably extradited to America.
Put simply, Jho’s evidence is too damaging. He, above all, is in a position to testify to the role that China played in siphoning further money out of Malaysia via the grossly inflated ECRL and pipeline contracts, using Chinese state companies to channel the billions of ringgit in excess cash over to Jho Low’s associates in Kuwait and elsewhere.
Just read the recent judgements issued by the Kuwaiti court against those very associates (including the son of the then Kuwaiti prime minister) who have been imprisoned for ten years for their role in the affair.
The judgements make clear that it was Jho himself who was sent by Najib to Beijing to structure those inflated contracts funded by Chinese loans with those at the very highest levels in the Chinese government. The stolen loan money was then used to pay off 1MDB debts and to continue to fund Jho Low’s and Najib and Rosmah’s expensive lifestyles.
Beijing do not want their corrupted influence-buying in Malaysia to be detailed first hand in a western court and far less will they want the evidence surrounding Jho’s wider Kuwaiti venture to come out.
Remember, Jho Low had constructed an elaborate top level cover story in Kuwait to explain the arrival of the billions in stolen money into the bank account of the PM’s son. The fake narrative (see Sarawak Report) was that China was engaging the same construction company that worked on the ECRL (CCCC) to join the Chinese government in investing in a Silk Road and Belt initiative in Kuwait to the tune of $8 billion.
In typical style Jho managed to rope in top establishment figures to embellish the hoax. The Chinese Ambassador and key officials from the Silk Road Foundation were brought to take part in official looking ceremonies in Kuwait where pledges were made and gifts exchanged to give credence to the whole affair.
Most damningly, amongst those connected personages was a young man, Xinyuan Liu, touted as being the nephew of the Chinese President Xi himself.
There he is, beaming from several photographs, obtained by Sarawak Report and published as long ago as 2020, as he shakes hands and poses with his royal hosts.
This presence nailed the close relative of the President of China as an associate, most likely paid, of Jho Low as the fraudster set about his latest audacious plot to con governments and steal billions.
Sarawak Report has heard from sources that this gesture alone raised the deadly fury of the Chinese leader against Jho Low, quite apart from all the other embarrassment that the implosion of 1MDB has heaped upon the Chinese government.
Not long after, the chief executive of CCCC chose to join the scores of top businessmen who have thrown themselves off tall buildings in China in recent years. It seems likely that his company’s exposure in these matters had contributed to his apparent desperation and ill fate.
There are other areas where Jho Low plainly over-reached himself in handling China. The US indictments of figures such as the National Republican Party’s deputy fundraiser Elliot Broidy, lobbyist Nancy Lum Davies, DOJ lawyer George Higgenbotham and rap star Pras Michel all make reference to Jho’s subterfuge on behalf of the Chinese security services in trying to influence the Trump administration into agreeing to extradite the wanted Chinese businessman Miles Guo.
Miles Guo had taken refuge in the US and Broidy, in return for payments of Malaysian stolen money, was supposed to lobby the justice department to get him back to China.
As part of the process Jho Low was cited as having met with some of China’s most senior security officials – threatening more dreadful exposure and embarrassment that would lose China face should he be brought before a US court.
“They can never let him go. He has been executed” a well-informed source has told Sarawak Report.
SR cannot confirm that claim. However, what has become clear following the return of Jasmine Loo and of another Jho associate, Kee Kock Thiam, in May, is that Jho Low has fallen out of contact with many of those from his group of Malaysian collaborators who originally joined him as fugitives after the 1MDB scandal exploded in 2015.
Latterly, these various family members and associates have lived in separated cells in China cut off from each other and from their former ring-leader Jho Low. They are unlikely to be able to help the Malaysian police to locate Jho, therefore, whether or not he is still alive.
Meanwhile, Jasmine Loo should be regarded as a person in considerable danger unless given the highest level of witness protection.
She has agreed to testify in Najib’s on-going trial over 1MDB as had Kee Kock Thiam. Kee however died, reportedly from a stroke, within a month of his return. Those figures who have argued that Jasmine ought not to be monitored or secured would have a lot to answer for if similar ill luck were to befall this crucial witness.