Jho Low harpoons ‘Billion Dollar Whale’ as guilt by lifestyle

A poster detailing the launch of the 'Billion Dollar Whale' is pictured at the entrance of Kinokuniya, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur on September 17, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A poster detailing the launch of the 'Billion Dollar Whale' is pictured at the entrance of Kinokuniya, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur on September 17, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Fugitive billionaire Low Taek Jho continued his offensive against the Billion Dollar Whale book yesterday, insisting the only thing it showed he was guilty of was a lavish lifestyle.

In a statement posted on his personal website, now the staging point for his public relations counteroffensive over the 1MDB corruption scandal, Low argued that the book did not prove his direct links to the alleged fraud surrounding the state investment firm.

Lawyers believed to be working for Low previously issued letters of demand and legal warnings to book distributors, chains and independent stores worldwide in an attempt to block them from carrying and selling the title.

The book by the two Wall Street Journal reporters who first exposed the US$681 million deposit in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts, is due for its global release today.

“As reviewers and commentators from the Financial Times and Australian Financial Review, among others, have pointed out, this particular book is mostly about transactions undertaken by global financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds and the managers of 1MDB — all of whom were experienced in such transactions and knew exactly what they were doing.

“In fact, Mr Low seems to disappear from the narrative when any of the alleged fraud occurs, only to then be accused — without any evidence — of having been responsible for it,” read the statement on Low’s site.

The statement went on to suggest the book’s authors, Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, were motivated by a desire for book sales when shaping the narrative.

Low’s statement asserted that the book was written in such a way that the two authors could maximise the salacious links between Low and Hollywood celebrities in order to generate more scandal and interest.

The writers also prejudged the outcome of ongoing proceedings in the US, the statement said in allusion to the US Justice Department’s kleptocracy proceedings related to 1MDB.

Billion Dollar Whale is guilt-by-lifestyle, and trial-by-media at its worst. We simply ask that the audience bears this in mind if they choose to read this, or any of these books.”

Wright will be in Kuala Lumpur on September 25 to promote the book, and will do so at a special launch event at the Kinokuniya store in KLCC.

Aside from Billion Dollar Whale, Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown has also launched her own book on the 1MDB scandal.

Last week, law firms thought to represent the Malaysian billionaire also known as Jho Low were discovered to have warned book distributors and sellers worldwide against carrying Wright and Hope’s book by warning its contents were likely to be “seriously defamatory.”

Low remains wanted in Malaysia where he has outstanding arrest warrants issued to the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over his alleged role in the 1MDB scandal.

He steadfastly denies any wrongdoing in relation to the state investment firm, insisting his involvement ended with the Terengganu Investment Authority prior to its rebranding as 1MDB by Najib.

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