Ex-BSI banker trial: Singapore names Jho Low as person of interest in 1MDB-linked probe

Malaysian millionaire Jho Low is being investigated in relation to the money laundering operation linked to scandal-hit Malaysian state fund 1MDB.
Malaysian millionaire Jho Low is being investigated in relation to the money laundering operation linked to scandal-hit Malaysian state fund 1MDB. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETOWRK

SINGAPORE - The Commercial Affairs Department said Thursday (Nov 10) it is investigating elusive Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, his close business associate Eric Tan Kim Loong, and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al Husseiny in relation to money laundering linked to scandal-hit Malaysian state fund 1MDB.

CAD investigation officer Oh Yong Yang told the court on day 8 of the trial of former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei that the three men are "persons of interest" in the CAD's probe of the "complex, sophisticated and largest money laundering case involving billions of dollars in transactions" linked to 1MDB.

The men, among others, are also being investigated in other jurisdictions, Mr Oh said. Low and Tan have been the subject of the CAD probe since 2015, he added.

Mr Al-Husseiny, an American, is the former chief executive officer of Aabar Investments, a unit of International Petroleum Investment Co, an Abu Dhabi government fund. He has been detained by Abu Dhabi authorities and is awaiting extradition on 1MDB-related charges, media reports say.

Mr Oh told the court that entities Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Samoa) and Aabar International Investments PJS Ltd (BVI), along with two others Aabar Investments PJS Ltd ( Seychelles) and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) featured in the CAD's investigations involving Yeo, Tan, Low, Al Husseiny and others.

Yeo, who is on trial for four counts of obstructing justice, allegedly told Amicorp Group employee Mr Jose Renato Carvalho Pinto how to structure funds for entities supposedly linked to the legitimate Aabar Investments PJS, a unit of Abu Dhabi state fund International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).

When asked by the prosecution if these entities were linked to the legitimate Aabar Investments PJS, Mr Oh said "CAD has strong reasons to believe the four companies aren't related to the sovereign wealth fund."

Yeo is the first of four Singaporeans implicated in the saga to go on trial. The nine-day trial ends on Friday. He also faces seven other charges of cheating, forgery and money laundering, which will be heard next year.

The others - Yak Yew Chee, Yvonne Seah Yew Foong and Kelvin Ang Wee Keng - face charges of graft, forgery and failing to report information on suspicious transactions to the authorities.