Jho Low might head for the West Indies next: Report

Jho Low might head for the West Indies next: Report

Jho Low New York
Jho Low during an appearance at the New York Times Health For Tomorrow Conference on May 29, 2014 in San Francisco. (Photo: AFP)

KUALA LUMPUR: The hunt for Malaysian businessman Jho Low continues after it was revealed on Wednesday (Jul 11) that he had fled Macau for an unknown destination. 

Director-General of Immigration Mustafar Ali said on Thursday (Jul 12) that Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, is believed to be travelling on a passport of Saint Kitts and Nevis located in the Caribbean.

“In the Jho Low matter, we are definitely working with the police ... We believe he is using another passport, of Saint Kitts and Nevis, to move about,” he said to reporters on Thursday.

Asked about the extent of travel that could be made with that passport, Mustafar said: “It depends”.

He said the department did not have further information and had to wait for developments from the police.

Low's Malaysia passport was cancelled by the Malaysian immigration department on Jun 15. 

The businessman has been wanted for questioning since 2016 as part of investigations linked to the Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was founded by former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in 2009. 

Najib has been charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power. 

READ: 1MDB scandal: A timeline

According to a report in The Star, Low also owns properties on Saint Kitts island.

"The authorities believe he is likely to head there to seek refuge, as he has nowhere else to run to," The Star cited an unidentified source as saying.

"From there, he can hop to the many surrounding island countries, where law enforcement is said to be lax."

READ: The charges against Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak

Located between Barbados and Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship can be obtained through a US$250,000 cash donation or via the purchase of real estate worth at least US$400,000, the Star said. 

Citizens can travel to more than 140 countries, including Canada, Britain and Europe, without a visa, the report added. 

Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with many of the island nations in the Caribbean. 

The earliest report of Low's whereabouts was in October 2017, when he was said to be in Phuket, according to the report, adding that Low visited several Indonesian islands from November 2017 to February 2018, when his Cayman-registered yacht "Equanimity" was seized by Indonesian authorities as part of 1MDB investigations. 

READ: Anti-graft agency raids apartment of Malaysian businessman Jho Low: Reports

He was reportedly in Macau, Shanghai and Bangkok from March to April 2018 and in Phuket in May, when Malaysia's watershed general election took place.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Low was spotted at a birthday party in Macau on Feb 12, 2018.

On Wednesday, Malaysia inspector-general of police Mohammad Fuzi Harun told reporters that Low had fled Macau after arriving from Hong Kong via a ferry. 

At least six countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and the US, are conducting probes related to the scandal in which more than US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, according to US lawsuits.

Singapore and Malaysia have made applications for a Red Notice to Interpol requesting assistance to locate Low.

Singapore even sent a request to Hong Kong for the arrest of Low in 2016, but it was rejected.

Source: CNA/Bernama/na

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