KL seeks return of jet said to be in Singapore and owned by Jho Low

Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad (left) confirmed the government is looking to bring home a private jet said to belong to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.
Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad (left) confirmed the government is looking to bring home a private jet said to belong to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho. PHOTOS: REUTERS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SERDANG (Selangor) • The Malaysian government is looking to bring home a private jet said to belong to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, which was reported to be in Singapore, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.

Asked about reports that Putrajaya is planning to bring back the jet, he told reporters: "Yes, I think so. We have to bring it back."

Malaysia last week seized the US$250 million (S$343 million) superyacht Equanimity with help from Indonesia, claiming the vessel is owned by Mr Low - widely known as Jho Low - who bought the vessel using funds stolen from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Tun Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after visiting an art exhibition.

According to media reports, the private jet was impounded by the Singapore authorities last year and grounded at Seletar Airport.

It was also reported that the impounded Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft was part of some US$1 billion in assets allegedly acquired with funds misappropriated from 1MDB.

Asked about discussions to bring the private jet back to the country, Dr Mahathir said: "I don't know, somebody else is doing it."

 
 
 
 

"We are trying to get back all the money that has been stolen from us," he said.

"We know who has it but, of course, we do not know where they are. And the need for us to access the money depends on our proving that it is our money."

The 91.5m superyacht is berthed at Port Klang, with officials saying they had seized the vessel using legal means, and plan to auction it off.

Dr Mahathir on Saturday toured the vessel.

"It's very luxurious, super luxurious. I have been on yachts before but nothing like this. Everything is superb, and bought with stolen money by crooks. We'll get at the crooks," he told reporters after spending an hour on the boat.

He said its maintenance alone costs the government RM2 million (S$672,000) a month.

Meanwhile, former Cabinet minister Khairy Jamaluddin has told Mr Low to return to Malaysia and face the authorities.

The Umno MP said Mr Low should stop hiding if he is innocent.

"If you are innocent, stop hiding. For as long as you are on the run and the other related court cases (SRC) remain pending, my party cannot move beyond the 1MDB issue and rebuild," Mr Khairy said in a tweet yesterday.

Mr Low's whereabouts is unknown.

Mr Khairy was referring to SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB that allegedly transferred a total of RM42 million into the personal bank accounts of 1MDB.

Former premier Najib Razak faces seven charges in court, from money laundering to abuse of power and criminal breach of trust, linked to the alleged transfer of these funds. SRC is currently a company under Malaysia's Finance Ministry, as is 1MDB.

Najib has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, with the trial fixed for early next year.

BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2018, with the headline 'KL seeks return of jet said to be in S'pore and owned by Jho Low'. Print Edition | Subscribe