Jho Low parts with London lingerie office over 1MDB claims, in latest bust-up with US officials

Jho Low is the alleged ringleader of a multibillion-dollar theft from 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Jho Low is the alleged ringleader of a multibillion-dollar theft from 1Malaysia Development Berhad.PHOTO: SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - The London office used by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho for his luxury lingerie company will be sold while he continues to fight US claims that the property is one of many acquired with money stolen from the 1MDB investment fund.

The office, bought for 42 million pounds (S$74 million) in 2014, as well as a nearby penthouse and apartment Low acquired in 2010 on Stratton Street in the upscale Mayfair neighbourhood, are to be sold as part of forfeiture lawsuits federal prosecutors in Los Angeles brought against the properties in 2017. According to court filings on Wednesday (Oct 23), the proceeds of the sale are to replace the real-estate assets as the litigation continues.

Low, commonly known as Jho Low, is the alleged ringleader of a multibillion-dollar theft from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which was created in 2009 as a government-owned development company. The US has brought 30 forfeiture lawsuits seeking real estate, investments, art and jewellery valued at US$1.7 billion (S$2.3 billion) that Low and his accomplices bought.

The Stratton office was used by Myla, a lingerie company that Low allegedly also acquired with diverted 1MDB funds. In a 2014 email Low sent from his Myla account, he introduced a Red Granite Pictures representative to Myla executives to follow up on "any opportunities for Myla in the movie space".

Red Granite is the movie production company co-founded by Riza Aziz, a stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The company last year agreed to pay US$60 million to settle claims that it financed Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" and other pictures with stolen 1MDB money.

Low and the Justice Department earlier this year agreed to sell some of his properties in New York and Los Angeles in so-called interlocutory sales whereby the money replaces the property as a target of the forfeiture lawsuit.

The case is USA. v. Real Property of London, United Kingdom, 17-cv-04240, US District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).