Singapore seizes $240m in assets in 1MDB probe, half from flamboyant Malaysian financier Jho Low and family

Half of the $240m in assets seized in 1MDB probe belong to flamboyant Malaysian billionaire Low Taek Jho.
Half of the $240m in assets seized in 1MDB probe belong to flamboyant Malaysian billionaire Low Taek Jho.PHOTO: SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

SINGAPORE - About half of some S$240 million worth of assets seized by Singapore authorities in the course of their investigations in relation to various 1MDB-related fund flows, belong to flamboyant Malaysian billionaire Low Taek Jho and his immediate family, it was disclosed on Thursday (July 21).

The Attorney-General's office, the Commercial Affairs Division and Monetary Authority of Singapore said this on Thursday in response to action taken by the US Justice Department to forfeit and recover more than US$1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds related to Malaysan state fund 1MDB.

Mr Low, 34, who is most often referred to as Jho Low, is a confidant of Prime Minister Najib Razak's family and among figures allegedly at the heart of 1MDB's angled dealings. Mr Low has said previously he provided "occasional" consulting to 1MDB that did not break any laws.

The US in its lawsuit alleged he bought up penthouses in New York, a mansion in Beverly Hills and expensive art fraudulently using 1MDB funds.

In Singapore, Mr Low owns two units at the posh TwentyOne Angullia Park along Orchard Boulevard which he bought for S$54 million in 2013, according to an earlier report by the Business Times. One of the units is a 7,718 triplex penthouse which cost S$42.9 million or S$5,560 per sq ft, making it one of the priciest properties sold in Singapore.

Mr Low is also the owner of a company called Good Star, which allegedly fraudulently received US$1.03 billion from 1MDB, according to the US lawsuit.

 

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Mr Low, it added, had laundered more than US$400 million of the misappropriated funds from 1MDB through Good Star into the US, after which the funds were used for "the personal gratification of Low and his associates."

Mr Low was also alleged to have diverted 1MDB funds from Good Star to Red Granite Pictures to finance its production of motion picture The Wolf Of Wall Street, a movie about decadence and greed starring Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio. Mr Najib's stepson Riza Aziz is the founder of Red Granite. Mr Low got an on-screen credit and a mention in the actor's Golden Globes speech.

A flamboyant wheeler-dealer known for partying with Hollywood celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, Mr Low was born in Penang. He studied at Harrow School in Britain and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

Mr Low's current whereabouts are unknown.