Highlights of claims detailed in book

Billion Dollar Whale appears soon after another book on the saga, The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story Of The 1MDB Expose, by investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown.

Jho Low said in a statement on Billion Dollar Whale yesterday: "This book is written with allegations disguised as fact and gossip passed off as legitimate reporting... Billion Dollar Whale is guilt-by-lifestyle, and trial-by-media at its worst."

Here are some highlights:

• Low threw parties that attendees and paparazzi would call the most expensive or extravagant they have seen. But the casual manner in which he allegedly dropped millions on any given night is perhaps best exemplified when he won a bidding war for a "bottle parade" in July 2010 at Saint-Tropez. Champagne worth €2 million (S$3.2 million) was carried out in a parade, more alcohol than the entire club could drink in a week, and indeed, enough for heiress Paris Hilton to spray the contents of a bottle all over Low and friends.

• Low became non-executive chairman for EMI in Asia, after taking a US$100 million (S$137 million) stake in the music publisher, allegedly with 1MDB cash. A passage from Billion Dollar Whale recounts how rapper Busta Rhymes walked into a studio where Low was recording a song for fun in April 2013. "Yo!" Low called out to Busta, "I own you. You're my b***h!"

•The filming of Wolf Of Wall Street famously saw a real limited-edition 25th Anniversary Lamborghini Countach - one of just 658 made - being wrecked according to script, instead of the usual practice of using a replica. Production house Red Granite, sitting on a war chest of alleged 1MDB cash, footed the bill for the collector's item currently valued at about US$250,000.

•Auditors Deloitte demanded 1MDB bring home US$2.3 billion invested in a Cayman Islands fund and managed by the now defunct Singapore branch of Swiss bank BSI before it would sign off on the firm's 2014 financials. Yeo Jiawei, jailed in Singapore last year over money laundering and cheating in relation to 1MDB, devised a scheme to send money from a loan taken by the firm to the Cayman Islands fund to be "redeemed", before sending it back through a chain of offshore accounts. This cycle was repeated five times until 1MDB had repatriated US$1.5 billion from the Cayman Islands.

Shannon Teoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2018, with the headline 'Highlights of claims detailed in book'. Print Edition | Subscribe