1MDB probe: Singapore and KL exchange info at 2nd meeting

The arrest of businessman Low Taek Jho (left), a central figure in the 1MDB scandal, is being sought by Malaysia, its Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad confirmed yesterday.
The arrest of businessman Low Taek Jho (above), a central figure in the 1MDB scandal, is being sought by Malaysia, its Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad confirmed yesterday.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Both sides will continue cooperation, Republic says in statement

Singapore officials have held further discussions with members of a Malaysian special task force investigating the alleged theft of billions of dollars from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

"It was a productive meeting, with a fruitful exchange of information," a joint statement by the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), the police' Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said yesterday. "Both sides agreed to continue this cooperation."

Officers from the AGC, CAD and MAS met the 1MDB task force led by former Malaysian attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail on Thursday. The meeting followed an earlier one in Kuala Lumpur last week.

The new Malaysian government reopened the probe after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who took office last month, vowed to recover the money allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

Yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir confirmed that Malaysia is seeking the arrest of businessman Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low, a central figure in the 1MDB scandal.

"We are trying to arrest Jho Low, but he is not in the country, and we don't have extradition rights in the country where he is staying," Dr Mahathir told reporters in Kuala Lum-pur, without naming the country.

Mr Low has been said to be close to former prime minister Najib Razak and his family.

On Thursday, Mr Low, through his lawyers, said he would cooperate with the authorities after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) issued a notice for him and former SRC International director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to help in its investigation.

The MACC yesterday warned the duo will face legal action if they fail to appear before the commission.

The probe is focusing on SRC, a former 1MDB unit, and the MACC questioned Datuk Seri Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor recently.

Singapore has since March 2015 worked to provide Malaysia with information on 1MDB-related fund flows, which Malaysia acknowledged in the meeting, the joint statement said. Following investigations, Singapore issued warrants of arrest in April/May 2016.

The statement also said that at Singapore's request, Interpol published red notices in October 2016 for Mr Low and his close business associate Tan Kim Loong, both of whom are suspected to have committed offences in the Republic.

A red notice is a request by a member country to locate and provisionally arrest a person based on a valid national arrest warrant.

"Singapore does not tolerate the use of its financial system as a refuge or conduit for illicit funds," the statement said. "We have taken strong action against financial institutions and individuals who have broken laws within our jurisdiction in connection with 1MDB-related fund flows." Such action includes criminal charges and convictions, and large financial penalties.

"Investigations are continuing into several other individuals suspected of being involved in 1MDB-related offences in Singapore," the statement added.

Media reports quoting sources have said warrants are also being prepared for former Golden Sachs banker Roger Ng and 1MDB's former chief executive Shahrol Halmi.

Mr Ng was head of Goldman Sach's South-east Asian sales and trading business when he resigned in April 2014. In 2012 and 2013, the US investment bank helped 1MDB raise US$6.5 billion (S$8.7 billion) in three bond sales to invest in energy projects and real estate in Malaysia.

But the US Department of Justice alleges that over US$2.5 billion raised from the bonds was misappropriated and used instead to buy artwork and luxury properties in New York and London. It filed civil suits in July 2016 to seize US$1 billion in assets in the US allegedly bought with funds misappropriated from 1MDB.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2018, with the headline '1MDB probe: S'pore and KL exchange info at 2nd meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe