1MDB-linked businessman Jho Low was in Phuket awaiting Najib's victory during Malaysia election: Report

Businessman Low Taek Jho (pictured) reportedly "struck a more careful posture" since Datuk Seri Najib's Barisan Nasional was defeated by the Pakatan Harapan alliance on May 9, 2018. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian authorities looking for controversial businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, may not have far to look.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Sunday (May 20) that Mr Low, the alleged mastermind behind the multi-billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, was in the Thai resort island of Phuket earlier this month in anticipation of the victory of his ally, former prime minister Najib Razak, at Malaysia's general election.

However the WSJ report said Mr Low later left Thailand and has "struck a more careful posture" since Datuk Seri Najib's Barisan Nasional was defeated by the Pakatan Harapan alliance on May 9.

The report also alleged that up until the election, Mr Low had remained in direct contact with Mr Najib and also with people in Mr Najib's inner circle.

It also stated that despite various investigations launched against the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) by various countries, Mr Low continued to party and sail around Asia in a super-yacht.

"Low was so nonchalant he held a party in February with celebrity friends in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau," the report said.

WSJ also stated in its report that Mr Low's lawyers said he declined to be interviewed or reveal where he was.

Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau reported last week that Mr Low was hiding in Taiwan.

Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with either China or Taiwan.

Malaysia's newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said that the government "roughly knows" where to find Mr Low.

Some US$4.5 billion (S$6 billion) has allegedly been misappropriated from 1MDB, with reports that about US$700 million had gone to Mr Najib's personal bank accounts.

Mr Low, a former consultant to 1MDB, denies any wrongdoing and has not been seen in public since 2015.

Bloomberg reported last Tuesday (May 15) that Mr Low has been ordered by US authorities to turn over his US$250 million (S$336 million) "Equanimity" yacht, part of assets the US claims he and his accomplices acquired with money they siphoned from 1MDB.

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