PUTRAJAYA, May 6 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today accused fugitive billionaire Low Taek Jho of absconding with most of the money from sovereign investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The prime minister said the money that the United States and Singapore pledged to return to Malaysia last week is not a lot, compared to the amount that is still missing.

“He stole all the money, missing from 1MDB alone was RM42 billion. Who keeps the money? Where is it?” Dr Mahathir said, referring to the Penang-born fugitive popularly known as Jho Low, and the debts accumulated by 1MDB.

“I think there is some evidence Jho Low has taken a lot of money for himself,” Dr Mahathir told a group media interview here.


He also stressed that Malaysian authorities are still looking for Low, and have not given up despite the difficulties in doing so.

Last month, Chinese vernacular newspaper Sin Chew Daily cited sources as saying that Low had recently travelled between Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Hainan in China.

The paper said its source had highlighted that the Malaysian police were still working with China's public security bureau to trace Low, but noted that China did not have his specific location.


Dr Mahathir last week expressed hope that Putrajaya will be able to receive a total of US$7 billion (RM28 billion) of pilfered 1MDB funds from various sources around the globe.

His remarks came after business news outlet Bloomberg reported that the US has pledged to return US$200 million to Malaysia, including US$140 million from the sale of a stake in New York’s Park Lane Hotel and around US$60 million from a settlement paid by the producer of the Wolf of Wall Street film.

In a separate report, Bloomberg said Singaporean authorities are also planning to return around S$35 million linked to 1MDB previously given up by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Roger Ng and his family.

In total, the money returned from both the US and Singapore will amount to around US$226 million, or RM936 million.

Authorities in at least six countries are investigating suspected money laundering and corruption linked to 1MDB, which was set up in 2009 by then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.