PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, managed to evade arrest due to tip-offs from moles in the Malaysian government, says Tun Daim Zainuddin.
In an interview with Channel News Asia (CNA), the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairman claimed that there were "moles within the civil service and enforcement agencies" who were feeding information to the previous administration.
According to the CNA report, Daim received a tip-off just before Hari Raya Aidilfitri that Low was at a hotel with his family.
However, Daim said, Low disappeared from the hotel within an hour.
"I was told that he spent more than US$40 million on legal fees alone," Daim said.
He said Low had also requested immunity from the Malaysian government in exchange for cooperation with the government in finding assets connected to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
"I told him 'no'. If he wants to help, it is better for him to come back here first so that we can discuss the matter."
"He claims that he is innocent. If you are innocent, you should come back here. Why are you running away?" Daim was quoted as saying.
"He said he could help us get back the assets and give us one or two names (of people involved)."
"I said (to ask) them to come see me," Daim said.
He added that Low attempted to contact him several times on Sept 6 to help resolve issues relating to the 1MDB scandal.
He said Low was the mastermind of the 1MDB scandal and was involved in the links between Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland.
The CNA report also said Daim believed that Low "did not act alone" in the plunder of millions from 1MDB.
"He has good advisers. He paid them," Daim said, adding that the bankers who were working with Low were "paid handsomely to execute and cover" the fugitive's tracks.
When asked whether the government would go after the bankers, Daim said the government was only interested in getting the people's money back.
Low is wanted in Malaysia, Singapore and other countries over investigations into 1MDB.
Malaysia has applied for an Interpol Red Notice to seek assistance from places such as the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong and Taiwan via diplomatic channels to arrest Low.