JHO LOW RESURFACES: 1MDB ‘MASTERMIND’ ASKS U.S. COURT FOR MORE TIME TO FIGHT ASSETS SEIZURE

More signs of Jho Low, without the man himself surfacing: the Malaysian businessman at the center of the 1MDB scandal is attempting to grab back luxury assets from U.S. officials.

Formerly best-known for partying with socialites like Paris Hilton, Jho Low has turned reclusive since he was accused by U.S. authorities of being the mastermind behind 1MDB’s vast, complex and opaque system of siphoning and laundering billions in state money.

His jet was grounded at Seletar in Singapore, but Low’s whereabout are unknown. The only sign of Low in nearly two years is that he and his family have ousted Rothschild’s private bank as a trustee of assets held via a New Zealand trust.

Park Lane Under Threat

Now, the trusts are asking a Los Angeles judge to ignore a deadline to file claims over assets that have been seized by the U.S, «Bloomberg» reported.

This include a major stake in New York’s Park Lane Hotel, a $35 million Bombardier Jet and a $30 million penthouse at Time Warner Center in New York.

The Park Lane holding faces a further challenge: Low’s co-investors have asked a U.S. court to boot the financier from the consortium, according to court filings.

The suits were filed shortly after Low replaced Rothschild with a Cayman Islands firm, thought by experts to be less pliant to the demands of U.S, authorities than the Swiss bank. – http://www.finews.asia

MEANWHILE, according to Bloomberg:

LOS ANGELES – Trusts that hold hundreds of millions of dollars in assets the US claims Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho acquired with money siphoned out of a state investment fund are asking a judge to let them file late claims in the Justice Department’s forfeiture lawsuits.

The trusts filed their requests on late Monday in federal court in Los Angeles where the Justice Department filed more than a dozen cases to recover more than a US$1bil in real estate and other assets the government claims were bought by Low, known as Jho Low, and his accomplices with money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The bid to set aside the court-ordered deadline to file claims comes weeks after courts in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands allowed new trustees to represent the interests of the trusts.

Family members of Low, including his father and brother, previously tried to intervene in the litigation as beneficiaries of the trusts because the Swiss-based trustees had declined to do so. “The government seeks to win this case on procedural technicality rather than on the merits of its claims,” lawyers brought on by the new trustees said.

The Low assets at issue include a stake in New York’s Park Lane Hotel, a US$107mil interest in EMI Music Publishing, a US$35mil Bombardier jet and a US$30mil penthouse at Time Warner Center in New York. The US has asked for default judgments against some of the assets because no valid claims had been filed in time.

Low has said he provided consulting to 1MDB that didn’t break any laws. The case is USA v Any Rights to Profits, Royalties and Distribution Proceeds Owned by or Owed to JW Nile (BVI) Ltd, 16-cv-05364, US District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

— Bloomberg

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