KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian police will request the extradition of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho and four others if they are discovered in other countries, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said yesterday.
The five were charged in absentia on Tuesday at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in connection with investigations into state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The police issued arrest warrants for them after the charges were filed.
Low, also known as Jho Low, was charged along with his aide Eric Tan Kim Loong, former 1MDB business development director Tang Keng Chee, former 1MDB general counsel Loo Ai Swan and former 1MDB executive director of finance Geh Choh Heng.
"They face a total of 13 charges involving losses of US$1.17 billion (S$1.6 billion)," Tan Sri Fuzi said in a statement. "All of them have fled the country. If they are identified to be in any country, we will request for extradition through the Attorney-General's Chambers," he said.
Low, 37, has been identified by Malaysian and US investigators as a central figure in the alleged theft of about US$4.5 billion from 1MDB. He was charged with five counts of money laundering involving transfers from 1MDB totalling US$1.03 billion into a Swiss bank account between Sept 30, 2009, and Oct 25, 2011. Along with his aide Tan, Low faces two more money-laundering charges for receiving US$126 million in a Singapore-based bank account, Mr Fuzi said.
The new charges are in addition to eight counts of money laundering already filed against Low in August.
A spokesman for Low said the latest charges were a continuation of "trial by media".
"As has been previously stated, Mr Low will not submit to any jurisdiction where guilt has been predetermined by politics and there is no independent legal process," the spokesman said in a statement. Low's whereabouts are unknown.
Tang, 53, faces two counts of money-laundering for allegedly receiving US$6.7 million, and a criminal breach of trust charge for transferring US$700 million from 1MDB to Low's company, Good Star.
Loo, 45, was charged with two counts of money-laundering for receiving US$6 million.
Meanwhile, Geh, 47, faced one charge of criminal breach of trust for allegedly transferring US$125 million from 1MDB to Good Star.
All of the offences were allegedly committed between September 2009 and July 2014.
Separately, the Equanimity, a super-yacht allegedly bought by Low with money siphoned from 1MDB, will be sold at a nine-digit price tag before March 31, according to 1MDB lawyer Sitpah Selvaratnam. That would price the yacht between RM100 million (S$32.88 million) and just below RM1 billion.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS