SERDANG, Aug 12 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he must be “greater” than US president Donald Trump to be able to influence the US government as alleged by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.
The Penang-born tycoon wanted for investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) global financial scandal had accused the Mahathir administration of “lying and putting words into the US’s mouth” on matters related to his purported purchase of the superyacht Equanimity.
“I must be very proud if I can put words into the mouth of US government,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after visiting an art exhibition at the Perdana University here.
“I must be greater than Trump,” he added.
In a statement emailed earlier today, an unnamed spokesman for Low claimed the US had not provided proof that the RM1.02 billion yacht was bought with money “stolen” from 1MDB, as previously asserted by the Mahathir administration.
The spokesman further claimed that the US had, in fact, filed for unproven allegations in a civil forfeiture complaint more than a year ago, then halted the proceedings before any party had any meaningful chance to respond.
International news wire Bloomberg reported that lawyers for Low had filed a case in a Los Angeles federal court last Thursday for its government to clarify the Malaysian government’s expression of thanks to it after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said it was not involved in the transfer of Equanimity to Malaysia.
The Cayman Islands-flagged Equanimity is currently docked at the Boustead Cruise Centre Terminal off the coast of Selangor after arriving from Indonesia last Tuesday.
The yacht, said to have been bought by the Penang-born Low, was seized by Indonesian authorities on February 28 in Bali at the request of the US authorities as part of a multi-billion-dollar corruption investigation launched by the US DOJ related to 1MDB.