KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low is aware that the owners of Oriole Drive property have successfully negotiated an agreement with the US government to commence a sale of his US$39 million (RM161 million) Los Angeles property in a mutual effort to preserve the property’s value.
In a statement issued by his spokesman through Low’s attorneys, he said they look forward to the continued amicable resolution of these claims.
“These negotiated agreements stand in stark contrast to the politically motivated actions of certain regimes, which not only illegally seized assets and destroyed their value but have also shown a consistent disregard for the rule of law, democratic values and basic human rights,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson further said that the sale of the property was in a mutual effort to preserve the property’s value while ensuring the owners’ claims are protected and may proceed in a timely fashion.
It is believed the certain regime the spokesman was referring to is the Malaysian government, as Low had previously condemned the seizure of his family home in Tanjung Bungah Park, Penang by the authorities on March 23.
He had said the action was unjustified as the family property was built and completed around 20 years ago before 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) ever existed.
Earlier today, it was reported that Low has agreed to sell his mansion in Los Angeles, which was allegedly acquired using misappropriated 1MDB funds and is a subject of forfeiture by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
In a filing with the US State District Court for the Central District of California last night (this morning Malaysian time), Low’s representative and US prosecutors agreed to the sale.
However, this did not mean that Low, who is challenging the forfeiture through Oriole Drive (LA) LLC, was giving up on his claim.
Instead, both parties agree that the property needs to be sold as it was falling into a state of disrepair and any future dispute will be in the form of proceeds from the sale of the property.
The filing mentioned that the expense of keeping the property is excessive and or is disproportionate to its fair market value.
It said the average monthly maintenance and utility expenses amounted to US$3,750 (RM15,534) and annual insurance cost is US$145,000 (RM600,662) while annual tax expenses are US$500,000 (RM2.07 million).
The sale will be undertaken by Ernie Carswell & Associates, which was mutually agreed upon.
However, it said if the sale cannot be completed within 270 days, then the US government will have the discretion to appoint an agent of its choice.
The DoJ believed US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and laundered through the global financial system, including the US.
To date, it has initiated forfeiture action on around US$1.7 billion in assets, believed to have been acquired using illegal funds.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is facing trial for the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia while Low, who has been charged in absentia in both the US and Malaysia, is presently on the run.
Both have denied wrongdoing.