KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho pumped US$9 million into The Malaysian Insider (TMI) in 2010 in a bid to salvage the now-defunct news portal then under attack from Umno, according to The Edge Weekly.
In a report citing sources, it said Malaysian businessman Vincent Cheah told investigators that Low or Jho Low emerged to help fund TMI that the former started with partner Shaik Aqmal Shaik Allaudin.
Cheah also told the investigators that he and Shaik Aqmal created the news portal in 2007 with an eye on propping up the Abdullah administration that had then been besieged by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his supporters.
The news portal was unsuccessful in preventing Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s forced exit in 2009 and came under attack from Umno and its supporters who believed it was undermining Datuk Seri Najib Razak who succeeded Abdullah.
The Edge’s report in its latest edition effectively confirms rumours about the news portal’s source of funds and backers.
According to The Edge, Cheah admitted that he personally retained US$3 million of the money Low ultimately funnelled into TMI.
Aside from the TMI connection, Cheah and Shaik Aqmal were also further linked to Low through one Morning Stars Equities Inc, a British Virgin Islands entity.
The Edge reported that Morning Stars received US$21 million from Singaporean firm Aktis Capital Singapore Pte Ltd, which investigators determined was used to house US$700 million allegedly diverted from 1MDB.
The Edge Group purchased TMI for RM4 million in 2014 but shut the portal down after run-ins with the Najib administration during the height of the 1MDB scandal in 2016.
Former employees of the portal went on to launch another news portal, The Malaysian Insight, after a hiatus.