KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today declined to confirm a former Wall Street Journal reporter’s claim that Beijing had agreed to extradite Low Taek Jho, the 1MDB embezzlement scandal mastermind on the run, but said efforts to capture the fugitive businessman is ongoing.

Anwar said Putrajaya continues to use “diplomatic channels” in the bid to bring the fugitive businessman back, a process he described as “complicated” and involves several countries.

“We’re not sure if we tracked Jho Low in China,” Anwar told reporters when asked about the matter here.

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Last month Bradley Hope, one of the co-authors of the Billion Dollar Whale book about the 1MDB corruption scandal, suggested in his blog that China could offer to repatriate fugitive businessman Low to Malaysia as part of a deal that would see the Anwar administration facilitate more Chinese projects here, among others.

Hope claims extraditing Low is also meant to improve bilateral ties with Beijing which is accused of being complicit in the attempted cover-up of the 1MDB scandal, and for its support of then prime minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, now on trial for his role in the affair.

China’s alleged involvement in the scandal has fuelled rumours that Low enjoys Beijing’s protection. The authorities believe the fugitive is currently hiding in China.

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Anwar said negotiation is taking place to expedite the process of repatriating Low and that several countries are involved. But the prime minister was coy when asked if the Chinese government was among them.

“Negotiation is taking place to expedite the process,” he told reporters here.

“Discussions (on the matter) are underway with the countries involved through the proper diplomatic channels.”