1MDB investigators file charges against wanted Malaysian Jho Low

The $250 million superyacht Equanimity, which was alleged to have been bought by Low Taek Jho, arrived in Kuala Lumpur earlier this week after it was seized by authorities. (Reuters)
Updated 24 August 2018
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1MDB investigators file charges against wanted Malaysian Jho Low

  • Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, popularly known as Jho Low, is regarded as having been close to former prime minister Najib Razak
  • Malaysia has also applied for an Interpol red notice for Low’s detention

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police on Friday filed criminal charges against fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, who is wanted in connection with a multi-billion-dollar money laundering scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Low, popularly known as Jho Low, is regarded as having been close to former prime minister Najib Razak and has been identified by investigators in Malaysia and the United States as a key figure in the 1MDB case.
He was slapped with eight charges of money laundering at a court in the administrative capital Putrajaya, Amar Singh, the director of police commercial crime investigations told Reuters on Friday.
Low’s father Low Hock Peng was booked for one charge under the same money laundering act, he said.
“Warrants of arrest for both of them were issued by the Court,” Singh said.
A spokesman for Low said in a statement sent by email that Low maintains his innocence and is confident he will be vindicated.
“Mr. Low and his lawyers request that the public keep an open mind until all of the evidence comes to light. This has been a case of “trial-by-media” from the start, and unfortunately, the circus continues,” the statement said.
Low and his family’s whereabouts are unknown, but Malaysian lawmakers and enforcement officials have said the 38-year-old financier is believed to be living in China. Some media reports say he may be in Abu Dhabi.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Singapore authorities had previously issued arrest warrants for Low.
Malaysia has also applied for an Interpol red notice to seek assistance from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong to detain Low.
Low has said previously that he will not present himself to any country where his guilt has been predetermined.
Investigations into 1MDB were reopened after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad returned to power in a stunning election victory in May, ending Najib’s decade-long rule.
Last month, Najib was charged for money laundering and abuse of power in connection with funds transferred from a former unit of 1MDB. Najib has denied wrongdoing.
The DOJ says over $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, with some of the money used to buy a private jet, a superyacht, Picasso paintings, jewelry and real estate.
Earlier this month, the $250 million superyacht Equanimity, which the DOJ says was bought by Jho Low, arrived in Kuala Lumpur after it was seized by authorities.
Attempts are also underway to impound Low’s $35 million private jet that was grounded in Singapore last year.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 19 February 2019
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”