Jho Low is at the center of a billion-dollar U.S. energy deal in 2012, which netted Goldman Sachs $300 million. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are moving to seize Low’s record-priced London penthouse.
Alleged to be the mastermind behind 1MDB convoluted trail of financial corruption, Jho Low has lain low in recent months as a U.S. led investigation into the alleged graft at 1MDB unfolds.
While his family attempt to block assets like U.S. luxury property being seized, U.S. officials are adding to Low’s list of worries.
Justice investigators believe Low used 1MDB money to buy Coastal Energy from a well-known Texas oilman in 2012, «The Wall Street Journal» (behind paywall) reported on Tuesday.
600 Pct Return
Why is this deal, of the many that Low is alleged to have conducted with money pilfered from 1MDB, key? Firstly, the Malaysian financier allegedly roped in Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund after the seller, colorful tycoon Oscar Wyatt Jr., questioned Low’s ability to pay.
Abu Dhabi paid the overwhelming bulk of the $2.2 billion deal, while Low put in a mere $50 million. Inexplicably to investigators, the SWF then transferred $350 million to Low one week later – a return of 600 percent for the Malaysian, for no apparent reason.
The deal is also noteworthy because Goldman Sachs advised Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co., or IPIC. Earlier this year, IPIC was merged into Mubadala, another Abu Dhabi fund, to form a $125 billion SWF.
$300 Million for Goldman
At the time of the deal, Low was being turned down as a private banking client by Goldman Sachs, who had become concerned over his wealth, the newspaper cites sources saying.
It later emerged that Low found open doors at Banca della Svizzera Italiana and Falcon Private Bank, both of which have been booted from Singapore by regulators over the scandal, as well as others.
Goldman, it has emerged, earned a cool $300 million from advising on Texas energy deal, raising more questions about the investment bank’s involvement in the scandal.
Low, whose whereabouts are unknown, also roped his family into the deal, including his father and brother – the same people who are fighting against Low’s U.S. luxury assets being seized.
Now, U.S. officials are also trying to seize £77 million worth of London luxury real estate including a Mayfair penthouse and two other nearby properties believed to have been bought with 1MDB money, «The Wall Street Journal» (behind paywall) reported separately.
One property was used as the headquarters for Myla, an upmarket British lingerie brand that Low bought with 1MDB money. Low resigned as a Myla director roughly six months ago.