PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, is believed to be using multiple Mediterranean and Caribbean island nations' passports to criss-cross the globe.
A source said Low continues to make Macau his base but travelled to the Middle East and other European countries using these different passports.
"Jho Low has secured a few different types of passports in the last eight years, mainly through the investment-based citizenship schemes as part of a grand scheme when he was involved in Malaysia's state-owned investment fund 1MDB scandal."
His first known investment-based citizenship passport was from St Kitts and Nevis, a tiny Caribbean island nation in the West Indies. Although the passport was issued in 2011, the country revoked his citizenship in 2018 following full-scale international investigations into the scandal of 1MDB, or 1Malaysia Development Berhad, in at least six countries.
"These passports allowed him visa-free travel to European countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy and over 170 countries globally," said the source.
The source also said Low is believed to have obtained a Maltese passport through an investment-based citizenship scheme.
In 2015, Low obtained a Cypriot passport besides the Maltese passport.
Cyprus' President has pledged to revoke any of his island republic's passports found to have been "mistakenly" granted to wealthy overseas investors under a controversial cash-for-citizenship programme.
After it was reported that Low got a passport of the island state back in 2015 as international investigators were closing him on him, President Nicos Anastasiades said errors could have been made in granting such so-called "golden passports".
Henley & Partners, a global passport and citizenship broker which Low engaged to secure his Cypriot passport, said the source, was also the sole agent for the sale of Maltese passports.
The source said Low had no problem making multi-million-dollar investments in properties in exchange for these passports, adding that he could fly in private jets and evade detection by going through temporary immigration posts at private VIP lounges where he could easily get his travelling document endorsed.
"In some places, like in the Middle East and several European countries, where these posts are handled by immigrant agents, Jho Low was not required to be present with his passport."
The source said the posts at these private VIP lounges were not equipped with a sophisticated biometric scanner or linked to the main servers to conduct thorough checks.
"With his rich lifestyle, visa-free passports and connections with wealthy and influential personalities and royalty in Middle Eastern and European countries, he was able to move freely, evading arrest and surveillance," said the source.