Singapore bookstores say have not received lawyer’s letters over new book on Jho Low

MPH Distributors, the sole distributor of Billion Dollar Whale in Singapore, said that there are already 6,000 copies here and they can be found at major bookstores such as Times, MPH and Kinokuniya. — TODAY pic
MPH Distributors, the sole distributor of Billion Dollar Whale in Singapore, said that there are already 6,000 copies here and they can be found at major bookstores such as Times, MPH and Kinokuniya. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 — Major bookstores in Singapore said they have not received lawyer’s letters over the sale and distribution of a new book detailing financier Jho Low’s alleged involvement in the Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

This is despite reports of Low’s attempts to block the distribution and sale of the book, titled Billion Dollar Whale.

On Friday, British newspaper The Guardian reported that the 36-year-old’s lawyers have sent “threatening letters” to bookstores around the world.

Responding to TODAY’s queries yesterday, MPH Distributors, the sole distributor of the book in Singapore, said that there are already 6,000 copies here and they can be found at major bookstores such as Times, MPH and Kinokuniya.

Marcus Frois, senior manager at MPH Distributors, said that another 4,000 copies are on order, and sales and distribution will go according to plan.

The book — written by Wall Street Journal reporters Bradley Hope and Tom Wright — is scheduled to launch at Kinokuniya on Sept 26.

Times bookstore said that it has not received any lawyer’s letter about the book, while Kinokuniya has not responded to media queries.

Low has been flagged as a key figure in the 1MDB scandal and is wanted in Malaysia for money laundering. The United States Department of Justice has filed civil suits to seize luxury assets bought with funds allegedly stolen from 1MDB and claimed that Low was the mastermind behind the misappropriation of more than US$4.5 billion from the fund.

Some of the money was allegedly used to buy a private jet, paintings, real estate, and a superyacht.

Low has denied all wrongdoing.

Billion Dollar Whale has been “effectively blocked” from distribution in the United Kingdom, The Guardian reported, saying that it has seen letters issued by Low’s lawyers from London-based law firm Schillings to independent bookstores around the country.

The Guardian also reported that Schillings had written to one bookseller to say it was “astonishing” that the shop had published a description of Billion Dollar Whale on its website.

Schillings warned the individual bookseller that it was “now on notice that serious defamatory material is likely to be contained in the subject book”.

The law firm is also reportedly demanding that individual booksellers provide a commitment in writing never to sell the book, detail proposals for compensating Low for the publication of the synopsis, and provide “reimbursement of his legal costs”.

It said it would begin legal action if it did not hear back from the bookstores.

The Guardian contacted Low for his comments, but received a response from Schillings saying that it could not confirm whether Low was a client of theirs.

“We do not talk about clients or matters, neither do we confirm or deny whether any individual or entity is a client of the firm,” it said. — TODAY