Hassan Jho Low Should Return To Face Trial If He Thinks He S Innocent
The fugitive financier Low Taek Jho should return to face trial instead of hiding abroad and trying to cut deals with Malaysian authorities, said Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim.
This is if he still has dignity and believes himself to be innocent of the 1MDB scandal, said the PKR lawmaker.
In trying to negotiate a settlement, Hassan claimed Low, also known as Jho Low, has tacitly admitted guilt in defrauding the government and its state investment fund.
“If he is innocent, why would he be willing to offer RM1.5 billion to the government in exchange for having his charges in Malaysian courts to be dropped?” Hassan (above) said in a statement last night.
He said Low must have taken a dim view of Malaysia’s justice system in thinking they can be “bought and sold” and lauded the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the MACC for making the right decision by rejecting the offer.
Nevertheless, he questioned why the rejection only came after several rounds of negotiations instead of earlier in the process.
“Why wasn’t it rejected early on? Isn’t it the attorney-general’s duty to bring Low back to Malaysia for trial and to testify as a key witness in former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s trial?” said the member of the MACC Special Committee on Corruption.
He also voiced dismay towards former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali for acting as Low’s intermediary.
“Is it legally correct in Malaysian criminal law for a criminal charge in Malaysian court to be dropped if money is paid, let alone a large payment of RM1.5 billion?
“Doesn’t Apandi realise Low is involved in the 1MDB scandal that caused the government to lose more than RM50 billion?” he said.
Since 2018, Low and his associates are facing five money-laundering charges amounting to US$1.03 billion.
He also faces a separate money-laundering charge with his aide Eric Tan Kim Loong for US$125.97 million.
In 2020, the MACC brought another charge against Low and his associates, this time for allegedly engaging in a criminal conspiracy to enable Najib to use his position to receive a bribe totalling RM60,629,839.43.
Meanwhile, in the US, he is charged with conspiracy to launder billions of dollars that originated from 1MDB, and conspiracy to violate the American Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Yesterday, the AGC confirmed that Low has reached out to the chambers and other agencies via a representative to negotiate a settlement, but the AGC has rejected all offers.
Apandi revealed he was approached by the Washington-based law firm Kobre & Kim in late May to arrange the meetings that involved Kobre & Kim lawyers, Attorney-General Idrus Harun, and a MACC official to “discuss the repatriation of monies allegedly siphoned by Low from 1MDB”.
He said the meetings appeared positive at the time, but the AGC later aborted the negotiations.
Neither the AGC nor Apandi disclosed the details of Low’s offer, but a report by The Edge claimed Low was offering RM1.5 billion for the charges to be dropped.
Low has not publicly commented on the failed negotiations. Previously, he had repeatedly claimed he was innocent and said in a 2020 interview that he was merely an intermediary in 1MDB’s dealings. - Mkini
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