SINGAPORE: Singapore police identified Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, as a "key person of interest" in a money laundering probe surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd, according to testimony in court Thursday.
The country’s investigation into Low started in 2015, officer Oh Yong Yang said during an obstruction of justice hearing involving an ex- BSI SA banker, Yeo Jiawei.
Oh described the probe as a complex sophisticated money laundering investigation involving billions of dollars.
Yeo is accused of obstructing justice in the sprawling corruption and money laundering probe, the first banker to be charged from the 1MDB investigations.
The Malaysian investment fund is at the heart of multiple investigations across the globe, with U.S. prosecutors characterizing Low as the controller of a scheme involving dozens of illicit payments draining billions from 1MDB. The Malaysian fund has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Low had previously described his role with 1MDB as informal consulting that didn’t break any laws. His Hong Kong-based company Jynwel Capital didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail request for comment.
Low, known for partying with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, directed funds from 1MDB to connected individuals and for his and his associates’ “personal gratification,” U.S. prosecutors say.
He bought art and real estate and paid for lavish parties and gambling, and helped Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s stepson launch his career as a movie mogul by supplying the funding for the hit movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” they said.
Najib, who formerly chaired 1MDB’s advisory board, has consistently denied wrongdoing. Singapore regulators have ordered BSI and Falcon Private Bank to stop operations for money laundering breaches in moving funds associated with 1MDB.
Yeo, the ex-BSI banker, usually addressed Jho Low as “boss,” Yeo’s former BSI supervisor Kevin Swampillai testified in Singapore court on Nov. 1. Yeo is believed to have worked with Low after leaving BSI, Swampillai said.
Other key people of interest to Singapore authorities include Low’s associate Eric Tan Kim Loong and former Aabar Investments CEO Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny, Oh said.
Yeo was also a consultant and adviser to Al-Husseiny, who was a former chairman of Falcon. The Monetary Authority of Singapore last month said Al-Husseiny “misled and influenced” Falcon’s Singapore branch to process unusually large 1MDB-related transactions despite multiple red flags. - Bloomberg