KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Kee Kok Thiam, a suspect in the 1MDB case who informed local investigators about fugitive Low Taek Jho or Jho Low’s whereabouts, has died, a source said today.
The source, who is in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), did so when asked to verify an obituary for Kee, a former associate of Low’s who had been deported from Macau less than a month ago.
“I can just say yes, it’s him. But I can’t confirm anything else,” the source told Malay Mail.
A senior official from the commission also confirmed receiving news of Kee’s death, adding that the latter had been released after being questioned by the commission.
Separately, another source with the Attorney General’s Chambers also provided indirect confirmation, saying that an investigator with the MACC also identified Kee as the same person in the obituary.
Earlier, Malay Mail obtained a tip in the form of an obituary that showed a scheduled prayer service for Kee today, followed by a funeral service tomorrow at the Kepong Crematorium.
It is believed that Kee died of sudden illness.
Kee had been a pivotal witness in the local investigations of the global corruption scandal, whom Malaysian authorities questioned upon his return following his deportation from Macau for allegedly overstaying his visa.
During questioning by the MACC, he confirmed meeting Low and fellow 1MDB fugitives and suspects — Eric Tan Kim Loong, Casey Tang Keng Chee, Geh Choh Heng and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil — in Macau.
Kee had been described was a close associate of Low, who had reportedly warned him about returning to Malaysia and helping with the investigation.
According to a report from news outlet Al Jazeera, MACC was not informed by the Macau government about Kee’s repatriation and claimed that it had known about the informant’s deportation “based on intelligence networking”.
On May 5, Malay Mail reported that an unnamed suspect was brought back with the cooperation of enforcement agencies from abroad, and arrived at KLIA’s Terminal 2 on May 3 at 3.30am. This is now believed to be Kee.
Upon arrival, he was given notice of an order to be present at the MACC’s headquarters in Putrajaya at 10am on May 3, with MACC then recording his statement and searching his house on the same day.
According to sources, the man was suspected of receiving money originating from funds misappropriated from 1MDB and SRC through the bank account of a company known as Wright Shaw Limited.
The MACC, with the cooperation of the Singapore police’s Commercial Affairs Department, previously succeeded in seizing Wright Shaw Limited’s bank account containing funds of around US$5.2 million (RM23 million).
Investigations show that the man had received money originating from 1MDB’s misappropriated funds through Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M).
MACC also told Al Jazeera that Kee said he was imprisoned for a month in 2021 by Macau’s immigration body but was released “conditionally” as its borders were closed due to Covid-19 regulations.
The MACC is said to have helped recover 70 per cent of 1MDB’s assets involving the sum of around RM28.3 billion.
Malaysian authorities had also sought information in the past on Low’s parents, his associates, and former 1MDB officials such as Jasmine Loo.