Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho has maintained his innocence over new charges of money laundering as the government steps up legal action against those who had allegedly embezzled from state investment fund 1MDB.
“Low will not submit to any jurisdiction where guilt has been predetermined by politics and there is no independent legal process,” according to a statement issued by his attorneys. “It is clear that Mr. Low cannot get a fair trial in Malaysia.”
Low was charged along with associate Tan Kim Loong and three other former employees of 1MDB, namely former
executive director of finance Terence Geh Choh Heng, former business development director Casey Tang and ex-general counsel Jasmine Loo, according to a statement from the police.
The charges presented against Low are in relation to offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Act: receipt of $700 million from 1MDB in September 2009 and receipt of funds totalling $330 million from 1MDB in 2011.
Separately, Low and Tan were charged with similar offences for receiving $126 million in relation to the issuance of Islamic medium term notes by Terengganu Investment Authority Bhd. in May 2009. The former 1MDB employees, Tang, Loo and Geh, were slapped with charges involving criminal breach of trust and money laundering offences. All five were charged in absentia as their whereabouts are not known.
This is not the first set of criminal charges against Low. In August, Malaysian police laid out eight counts of money laundering charges against Low. Each carries a maximum fine of 5 million ringgit, a jail term of as long as five years, or both.
Singapore, whose financial system and banks were used as conduits for some of the illicit funds, filed charges against Low in 2016 when it issued a warrant of arrest. The city-state had also requested that Interpol publish a red notice for Low in 2016.
1Malaysia Development Bhd., better known as 1MDB, is at the heart of a scandal which allegedly saw $4.5 billion misappropriated from the fund. Low, who previously said he did consulting work for 1MDB, is portrayed by some global investigators as the mastermind behind some of the schemes involving missing funds.
He has been described as
the “best witness” to provide information on alleged crimes at 1MDB.