KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Charged with money laundering in absentia, fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho has finally penned a personal letter in a new website denying all allegations that he masterminded the theft of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Better known as Jho Low, the 36-year-old Penang-born said he set up the website Jho-Low.com to “set the record straight” on the plethora of allegations filed by government agencies worldwide.
“I have been paraded in effigy through the streets of Kuala Lumpur, and photographs from my younger days plastered in tabloids across the globe.
“This website is an effort to change that. My goal is to provide a balanced view of the allegations and the truth behind these matters,” he wrote in a letter that carried his signature.
Low also said he would provide court documents and other materials, including excerpts from news reports to defend himself from the “global media circus”.
“Let me be clear: I am innocent,” he said.
He then sought to play down any possible wrongdoings to youthful “mistakes”, which he said did not justify the allegations against him.
“With hindsight I may have done things differently, like any young person, but any mistakes I made do not amount to the sweepingly broad and destructive allegations being made against me.”
Low’s emergence comes on the heels of the publication of two books chronicling his role in the 1MDB saga: Billion Dollar Whale, written by Wall Street journalists Tom Wright and Bradley Hope; and The Sarawak Report, authored by Clare Rewcastle Brown. Both books, released in Malaysia last week, are said to have been sold out in the Klang Valley.
On August 24, Low was slapped with eight charges under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act over the transfer of several hundred million US dollars in the BSI Bank in Singapore.
His father, Tan Sri Larry Low, faces similar charges under the same law for transferring US$56 million (RM231.7 million) to his son.
Low continues to elude the authorities despite warrants for his arrest in Malaysia and Singapore, and an Interpol red notice for his capture.
He was reportedly seen in Hong Kong with which Malaysia has an extradition treaty, Macau and even mainland China as recently as July, but fled before Malaysian investigators could reach him.
The RM1 billion super yacht Equanimity, believed to have been bought by Low using 1MDB money was recently returned to the Malaysian government to be sold.
Putrajaya is also trying to take back ownership of the US$35 million Bombardier Global 5000 jet, also said to have been purchased with 1MDB money, from Singapore where it is currently grounded.
Apart from Low, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been charged with money laundering, criminal breach of trust and power abuse related to the transfer of money from a former 1MDB unit.