Where is The great Gatsby ? Where is Jho low ? 1MDB fraud scandal

Many unanswered questions evolve around the mystery of Jho low. The man behind 1 Malaysia Development Berhad Fund, known as 1MDB. The fund was set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. 

 Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, a 36 year old Malaysian financier, with no official position at the fund yet had huge influence on its working. He is allegedly the mastermind behind the multi-billion dollar fraud.

More than $4.5 billion in laundered money was allegedly misappropriated from the 1MDB and more than US$2.7 billion went to kickbacks and bribes, according to the charges.

Goldman Sachs, which supported the fund and acted as an underwriter for its 6.5 billion dollars of bonds issuance, is currently under mounting pressure and negative press.  The American Investment Bank generated a lucrative US$600 million in fees. As a result, criminal charges were issued against two former Goldman investment bankers Ng Chong Hwa and Tim leissner. Ng was arrested in Malaysia while his former colleague Leissner pleaded guilty in New York and asked to pay back more than 40 million dollars.

Abu Dhabi's state energy investment company has also sued Goldman accusing bank employees of bribing Abu Dhabi officials. 

So who is Jho Low and what do we know so far?

Jho Low has built valuable connections in Malaysia and the Middle East through going to prestigious London based Harrow school and Wharton business school for education. He then began managing money for friends and family and that eventually led him to having access to sovereign wealth investments. And through various connections within his social circle, he managed in 2012 to have a private meeting in New York with Goldman's established chairman and chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein.

 Jho had no trouble entering the world of Hollywood and glamour either. He befriended the likes of Miranda kerr and Leonardo Dicaprio. All it took were extravagant gifts from investors’ money, multimillion-dollar artworks by Picasso and Basquiat paintings for Leo and 8 million dollars’ worth of diamonds for Miranda.  The two stars both returned gifts to US authorities in 2017.

Today, low is an international fugitive, wanted by the Malaysian authorities in connection to the 1MDB scandal. He is accused by the US government to be the beneficiary of many trust assets to originate from payments out of the Malaysian 1MDB fund. Reports suggest he’s taking refuge in China.

So Why did Goldman close its eyes on such a fishy deal, 10% of fees is questionable? Why did the team of Najib Razak ordered for Low’s name to be scrapped from 1MDB financial audit? What is Najib trying to protect or hide? Where are 1MDB assets? Where is the money sitting? Why can’t Jho Low be reached in China? And Why is Najib protecting Mr. Low?

 All these questions lead to one conclusion:  Jho Low could be the only person who knows where the money is and probably the only one who has access to it.

Fatima DaouiComment