KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian finance minister Daim Zainuddin said on Thursday (Sep 6) that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, had attempted to contact him several times for "help in resolving issues" relating to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Mr Daim, the chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) – a special team advising the government – said Jho Low had contacted him in July. This was before Mr Daim visited China to renegotiate loans and contracts that Putrajaya previously inked with Chinese companies.
"(Jho Low) wanted to talk to me but I turned him down. He called, but I told him to speak to my representative. He said he could assist (on matters relating to 1MDB).
"Before this, I have said in the first media conference with the CEP that if he is not guilty, he should return, (and) that night he called me,” he said in an interview on Malaysian television channel TV3.
Jho Low has been identified by investigators in Malaysia and the United States as a key figure in the 1MDB case where millions of dollars were allegedly misappropriated from the state investment fund.
He was slapped with eight charges of money laundering at a court in August, but has maintained his innocence.
Mr Daim said that since the Pakatan Harapan government took over the administration of the country, those involved in the 1MDB scandal were willing to become witnesses to explain what actually transpired.
Jho Low's current whereabouts are also still unknown, but Malaysian lawmakers and enforcement officials have said the 38-year-old financier is believed to be living in China. Some media reports say he may be in Abu Dhabi.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Singapore authorities had previously issued arrest warrants for Low.
Malaysia has also applied for an Interpol red notice to seek assistance from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong to detain Low.
Low's luxury yacht Equanimity, which was allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB, was seized in February off the Indonesian island of Bali. The US$250 million yacht has since been handed over to Malaysia.
The Malaysian government is also eyeing to bring back a private jet belonging to Jho Low.