More heat on the reclusive Malaysian financier alleged to be behind 1MDB’s web of money-laundering: his private jet was grounded in Singapore.
Jho Low dropped out of sight nearly two years ago, after the billion-dollar graft scandal surrounding Malaysian state fund 1MDB surfaced into the public domain.
Since then, two banks – Banca della Svizzera Italiana, or BSI, and Falcon Private Bank – have been sent packing from Singapore for laundering 1MDB money without question. A handful more including UBS, DBS and Standard Chartered have been sanctioned.
There have been no sightings of Low, despite rumors alternatively claiming the financier is holed up in Taiwan, China, his native Penang or Thailand.
Jet Grounded at Seletar
The only tangible sign of him recently is a New Zealand court case brought by Low and his family. The Lows are seeking to stop the U.S. from grabbing pricey assets that prosecutors allege were bought with 1MDB’s money.
They won a small victory last month by shifting trustees from Rothschild Private Bank to a Caymans-based entity.
Now, a long-range private jet of Low’s was impounded at Seletar Airport in Singapore, according to «Sarawak Report». The jet was grounded by U.S. officials, who allege that Low purchased the machine with $700 million in 1MDB funds.
Low Hiding in China?
The blog, which has reported extensively on the 1MDB scandal, said Low’s yacht has been moored in a Phuket yacht marina in recent months, after criss-crossing the South China Sea for roughly one year.
Low himself is hiding in China, the blog claimed, without citing where it got the information, elaborating or otherwise substantiating the claim.
1MDB’s ties to Abu Dhabi, which played a key role in the laundering scandal, are also coming into sharper focus. Malaysia and Abu Dhabi have been locked in an legal standoff over a soured financial deal.
An arbitration judge recently ruled against Malaysia, «Sarawak» reported, which means 1MDB is likely to have to cough up a hefty payout to Abu Dhabi.
The two sides were close to reaching an amicable settlement, the blog reported, but the deal foundered amid demands from Najib Razak, Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Arbitration proceedings are almost always confidential in nature, making it nearly impossible to verify Sarawak’s reporting.
«The deal was scotched, it would appear, because Najib wanted the Middle Eastern fund managers (ie Abu Dhabi’s Royal Family) to lie and pretend that diverted and then stolen guarantee payments from 1MDB had indeed been paid to IPIC/Aabar, instead of being funnelled into a bogus BVI company, controlled by Low and his collaborators, with a similar name,» Sarawak said.