Jho Low, alleged to be the financial mastermind behind siphoning millions from Malaysia’s 1MDB, is reportedly using a device common among the super-wealthy as he watches his assets being seized and sweats out potential criminal charges.
Baby-faced Malaysia benefactor Low Taek Jho or «Jho Low» hasn’t surfaced since the 1MDB scandal blew up more than a year ago, though his yacht has paid harbor fees in Thailand and been spotted off Cambodia.
Since then, the bottom has fallen out of his life: he has suffered the indignity of his former high-flying friends such as ex-girlfriend Miranda Kerr and Leonardo DiCaprio handing over expensive gifts to U.S. investigators, as well as luxury assets like New York’s Park Lane Hotel being seized from his possession.
Low reportedly has one more trick up his sleeve: a Caribbean passport, Malaysia-based «The Edge» reports.
No Dual Citizenship
This is significant because Low, who has ties to Malaysian leader Najib Razak, isn’t allowed to hold more than one passport under the law’s of his native Malaysia.
Low also holds citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis, a tiny island in a string of Caribbean countries between Cuba and South America. Several of them including Grenada offer visa schemes, but St. Kitts is viewed among experts who arrange second citizenships as an easy grab.
The country requires a modest donation of $250,000 or $400,000 in property investment, but does not require its prospective citizens to actually travel to St. Kitts to apply: meetings can be arranged in Zurich, Dubai or London, its website says.
Second citizenship is often used by the world’s wealthy for a variety of reasons including visa-free travel or lower taxes, as finews.asia has previously reported.
Invariably, the schemes are also frequently used for other, more nefarious purposes: an American lawyer was accused of pilfering nearly $16 million, and later bought a St. Kitts passport. The island revoked his passport.
Low’s ties to Najib are so deep that the financier allegedly purchased close to $30 million in diamond jewelry for the Prime Minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.
How will the Najib-led government respond? Going by recent history, not at all: the 1MDB probe may have hit Singapore like a wrecking ball, but it has barely rippled back home in Malaysia.