Crime & Courts

Low 'threatened' to make my life a 'living hell' if I return home - Loo [Updated]

KUALA LUMPUR: Jasmine Loo Ai Swan had everyone at the edge of their seats today when she explained her decision to become a fugitive after the fall of the Barisan Nasional-led government in the 2018 General Election.

The former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) general counsel said she had no intention of running away, but she was instructed by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, to remain abroad.

"He swore to make my life 'a living hell' if I ever return to Malaysia.

"He (Low) sent his threats that he would use his every resource and power to ensure that I will meet a terrible end.

"I always wanted to return home and cooperate with the authorities, but I felt concerned in circumstances where I felt I could not safely return to Malaysia," she said.

Loo said this when testifying in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's corruption trial for misappropriating millions of 1MDB funds at the High Court today.

The former lawyer said she was in Bangkok, Thailand during the 14th General Election in 2018.

"When the election results were announced and BN led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, lost, Low told me to remain abroad, warning that things would get very ugly for me if I returned to the country.

"He promised to resolve things and asked me to give him more time before returning to the country.

"I stayed out of fear of reprisal and for the safety of myself in case I took any steps to return to the country," she said.

Loo said she had suffered much when she was on the run, as she needed to rely on someone who had threatened her life.

"I was not working. I lived on whatever funds I had with me and from time to time, maybe from eight to nine months, Jho Low would send someone or strangers to deliver funds to me, approximately about US$2,500 for another year or so.

"I felt I had no choice but to survive because I had no other means," she said, adding that she began making moves to return home in 2019.

"My first approach was to resolve the Department of Justice's suits and to make restitution.

"We began discussion in 2019 but everything came to a standstill after Covid-19 pandemic took place.

"After that, as early as 2020, I sought legal advice as to how to secure safe passage to Malaysia and in April 2021, my lawyer submitted a representation to the Attorney-General's Chambers offering my cooperation," she said.

Loo, who became a fugitive after the fall of the Barisan Nasional government during the 14th General Election in 2018, is now under police witness protection after she was arrested on July 23 last year.

Najib, 70, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues

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