Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho will be summoned over a probe on 1MDB

Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho.
Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho will be summoned to face the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over a probe into state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB).

PAC chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed said Low, also known as Jho Low, was special adviser to the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) which was set up in 2009 before being taken over by the Federal Government in the same year.

"He's got an official capacity in TIA and we want him to clarify certain issues," said the Pulai MP.

He said the decision was made after listening to the Auditor-General (A-G) about the investments made by 1MDB. This includes investments with Petrol Saudi.

He pointed out that Low's official capacity in TIA was special adviser to the chairman of the board of advisers.

When asked if Low, who is believed to be overseas, could refuse to attend, Nur Jazlan said: "It's up to him." He added that PAC did not want to reach the stage where it had to compel Low to come.

The committee will also recall auditors from Deloitte Malaysia, KPMG as well as Ernst & Young to answers further question which had surfaced after the tabling of the A-G's report.

Nur Jazlan said the PAC intended to call current and previous top executives of 1MDB. He said the letters would be issued next week.

The bank account of Low has come under scrutiny amid the ongoing investigation into 1MDB funds.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Thursday that Singaporean police and Bank Negara were looking into US$529 million (S$713 million) said to have been deposited between 2011 and 2013 into a business bank account in Singapore controlled by Low.

The international business daily said that it received a copy of the information about the deposits and Low's ownership of the account in a letter dated March 13 this year from Singapore police to Bank Negara.

Citing the letter, it said Malaysia had asked Singapore for help in its investigation into 1MDB.

The letter also stated that the police's Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office gave details of deposits from the Swiss bank account of a company called Good Star Ltd. However, there was no indication in the letter of where Good Star got the funds or what had happened to the money. The letter said the business account was shut in February last year.

"If proceeds of crime have been transferred to Singapore, we would like to consider whether an offence has been committed in Singapore," Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office head Chua Jia Leng was quoted as saying in the letter to Bank Negara.

Low's alleged Singapore account was at a Swiss bank called BSI SA.

"Malaysia's government, which wholly owns 1MDB, said earlier this year that the fund was holding US$1.1 billion in a BSI account in Singapore. It is not clear whether there is a connection between the two accounts," reported WSJ.

Low had earlier denied wrongdoing, saying that he never had a formal position at 1MDB, characterising his role as an "occasional adviser".

1MDB has been thrust into the spotlight after WSJ published an article claiming that Prime Minister Najib Razak channelled close to US$700 million into his personal bank accounts from government agencies and companies linked to 1MDB.

The Prime Minister, who is the chairman of 1MDB's board of advisers, has since reiterated that he did not take any money for personal gain.