Jho Low moves to block books on 1MDB: Report

The books are The Sarawak Report by Ms Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the British editor of the eponymous newspaper who broke the scandal, and Billion Dollar Whale, written by journalists from the Wall Street Journal1.
The books are The Sarawak Report by Ms Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the British editor of the eponymous newspaper who broke the scandal, and Billion Dollar Whale, written by journalists from the Wall Street Journal1. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

LONDON • Lawyers acting for fugitive financier Jho Low, who is wanted by Malaysian police on money-laundering charges linked to state investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), are seeking to block two upcoming books on the 1MDB scandal, Sarawak Report said.

The books are The Sarawak Report by Ms Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the British editor of the eponymous newspaper who broke the scandal, and Billion Dollar Whale, written by journalists from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Both are due to be published this month, Sarawak Report said last Friday.

The report said the British publisher of The Sarawak Report received a letter last Thursday from Schillings, a London law firm hired by Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho, to represent him regarding alleged defamation issues.

The letter threatened the publisher with substantial damages on the basis that the law firm assumed the book would repeat what it called defamatory accusations about Low made in Sarawak Report.

The British publishers of the WSJ book are understood to have also received similar letters over the past few weeks, the Sarawak Report said.

The WSJ has said Schillings is being funded through payments made by Mr Phengphian Laogumnerd, a Thai businessman whose close ties to Low have previously been detailed by Sarawak Report.

According to the WSJ, United States investigators are now probing whether the money used to fund Schillings and other lawyers working for Low was stolen from 1MDB.

Mr Laogumnerd has stated he is wealthy in his own right.

The WSJ writers say they will continue to publish their book in the US, while Sarawak Report will continue to publish its book independently in Britain, which has far-reaching libel laws, and Malaysia.

Malaysia has charged Low, who the US Department of Justice claims is the mastermind behind the billions stolen from 1MDB, and his father Larry Low Hock Peng with money laundering. Both men's whereabouts are unknown.

Low has persistently denied any wrongdoing, saying he was just an informal consultant at 1MDB.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 02, 2018, with the headline 'Jho Low moves to block books on 1MDB: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe