Facing new 1MDB charges, Jho Low repeats claim of innocence

Low issued yet another statement today to proclaim his innocence. — Picture via Facebook
Low issued yet another statement today to proclaim his innocence. — Picture via Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho today maintained his innocence after new criminal charges connected to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal were filed against him.

Low, who is already wanted in Malaysia to face multiple criminal charges over alleged money-laundering, issued a statement today to proclaim his innocence.

“Mr. Low maintains his innocence. As has been stated previously, Mr. Low will not submit to any jurisdiction where guilt has been predetermined by politics and there is no independent legal process.

“It is clear that Mr. Low cannot get a fair trial in Malaysia, where the regime has proven numerous times that they have no interest in the rule of law,” Low’s spokesman said through his attorneys in a brief statement this evening.

The statement was sent out by a public relations firm based in Australia.

Earlier today, Malaysia's Attorney General Tommy Thomas announced that criminal charges had been filed today against the Goldman Sachs investment bank's subsidiaries, its former key employees, Low and former 1MDB staff Jasmine Loo Ai Swan over an alleged scheme to defraud the Malaysian government.

Thomas said the charges arise from the alleged giving and abetment of the making of false or misleading statements to dishonestly misappropriate US$2.7 billion from the proceeds of three bonds issued by 1MDB subsidiaries and arranged and underwritten by Goldman Sachs, with the bonds' total face value at US$6.5 billion.

Malaysia is seeking jail sentences against the individuals charged, with the maximum jail term for these offences being 10 years.

These charges are on top of over 10 money-laundering counts that Low has been charged with.

On August 24, Low was charged with three counts of receiving a total of almost US$260.75 million and five counts of transferring a total of €41.1 million and nearly US$140.64 million with the money-laundering offences allegedly committed from December 2013 to June 2014 period. His father was charged with transferring about US$56.45 million to him in February 2014.

For each of these charges under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA), a conviction will result in a penalty of a maximum RM5 million fine or maximum five-year jail term or both.  

On December 4, Low and four others were charged in absentia for causing the government losses of US$1.17 billion (RM4.2 billion).

Low was charged with five counts of money-laundering under AMLATFA by receiving US$1.03 billion during the September 2009 to October 2011 period, and was charged with another person with two counts of money-laundering under AMLATFA over a US$126 million sum.

The court has issued arrest warrants for Low, his father and the four others who are abroad, and will be seeking the aid of international authorities including Interpol to bring them back to face the charges here.