KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 ― Bukit Aman only found out about 1MDB fugitive financier Jho Low’s real estate purchases in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus three to four weeks ago, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador disclosed today.
The inspector-general of police said the latest lead came to light after the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Prevention (AMLA) division’s successful arrests of several people.
“From these arrests, we have successfully deconstruct and obtained information that Jho Low was attempting to purchase properties under a different alias in Cyprus,” he told a news conference at the Royal Malaysian Police College here today.
He did not elaborate on the arrests.
The IGP also rejected claims that the businessman born Low Taek Jho — said to be behind the theft of billions of dollars from the sovereign investment fund — was currently lying low on Cyprus after allegedly receiving its passport.
Abdul Hamid maintained his previous assertion that Low was lying low in an unnamed country under the protection of certain powerful personalities.
“I have said before, it is impossible for him to leave the country he is hiding in with ease. He is still there hiding, like a chicken,” the IGP said.
He added that the Penang-born was unlikely to go to Cyprus as his Chinese Malaysian facial features were distinct from its natives.
“He would have been very recognisable.”
Until recently, Low has been thought to be hiding out in China and controlling his remaining business interests from various parts of the country.
The IGP said discussions with the government and authorities of the unnamed country, are ongoing.
He admitted that Malaysia is also using semi-official channels to persuade the other country in its bid to bring Low to justice.
“There are some parties that may feel our efforts so far is insufficient or done with taking into consideration of more unorthodox methods, such as the Mossad way.
“It is my mission, as all of you are aware. So I will not give up and continue to provide my reasoning to them because this does not concern the economic, political or strategic interest of a country but a crime,” he said.
The Mossad, as the Israeli national intelligence agency is called, is said to have a history of high-profile covert operations that include abductions and assassinations worldwide,
It was mentioned by the prime minister’s media adviser Datuk A. Kadir Jasin earlier today in his call for an end to the protracted cat-and-mouse game between the Malaysian authorities and Low.
Kadir urged Malaysian authorities to emulate the Mossad, which was responsible for the abduction of infamous Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who was later tried and hanged in Israel.
Abdul Hamid today again expressed his disappointment with the unnamed country for its lack of cooperation in returning Low.
“My patience has its limit. All this while, we have given our best cooperation to them in all policing matters.
“I am very disappointed when my requests are not entertained,” he said, adding that he has solid information that Low is staying in the unnamed country.
When asked, Abdul Hamid affirmed that Malaysians authorities had never been in direct communications with its Cypriot counterparts.
On Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades' remark that his country should terminate Low's passport if reports of its existence is proven, Abdul Hamid agreed it was a necessary move for a sovereign country as Low is currently listed on Interpol's Red Notice.
Cyprus is under scrutiny after its news outlet Politis, alleged last Monday that Low used its government’s so-called “golden passport” scheme to buy citizenship there.
According to the Cypriot news agency, Low applied for and secured the passport through the Cyprus Investment Programme, with the endorsement of the country’s Christian Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
After his US$1 billion (RM4.15 billion) settlement with the US Justice Department last week, however, a spokesman of Low appeared to taunt authorities by saying he was offered asylum “by a country that acts in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights.”
Low remains wanted by authorities in Malaysia, the US and Singapore.