KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities are aware of the location of fugitive Low Taek Jho, said Malaysia’s police chief Abdul Hamid Bador on Friday (May 24), while assuring the businessman that it is safe to return to go through the legal process.
In a press conference, Mr Abdul Hamid said: “We know where Jho Low and his friends are hiding and police are making use of all available resources, including working with the authorities overseas to track down Jho Low”.
However, he did not reveal the location to reporters.
He stressed that it would be safe for the financier, popularly known as Jho Low and his family to return to Malaysia. “There are laws in Malaysia, come back if you are innocent and do not use lawyers to make statements or denials,” he said.
“They (Jho Low and associates) can come back with the best lawyers to defend them ... don’t waste our time, they cannot run forever.”
The top cop was also quoted as saying by the New Straits Times: “I can guarantee his safety ... All of these stories saying he would be tortured if he comes back are nonsense, because we uphold the rule of law.”
Jho Low, who was identified by investigators from Malaysia and the United States as the main character in the multi-billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, was believed to have fled Hong Kong to an island near Macau.
The authorities said about US$4.5 billion were allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, a state fund founded in 2009 by then Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.
Commenting on the raid on audit firm Deloitte Malaysia on Thursday, Mr Abdul Hamid said police was gathering documents believed to be connected to the investigations into the embezzlement of 1MDB funds.
Asked if it would be possible for the police to smuggle Jho Low, who is believed to be hiding in China, out of the country, Mr Abdul Hamid replied: “We can invoke AMLA (Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001) and seek assistance.”
“But doing James Bond style by breaking the law of that country doesn't augur well with our approach,” he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail, again without specifying where Jho Low is located.
“We are not going to do that. We are going to do it the proper, legal and transparent way.”
The police chief, who only took over earlier this month, said he wants to prioritise the 1MDB case.
“That (1MDB case) is my priority, we have to settle this 1MDB as soon as possible,” he said.