Friday, November 20, 2020

‘Get me a deal’: Fugitive Jho Low in quotes

Excerpts from fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho's phone conversation pleading his case with the new government in Putrajaya days after the 2018 general election.

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Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera has released exclusive audio clips of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho in a phone conversation with a Malaysian official, where he attempted to negotiate a deal with the Malaysian government to ink an agreement similar to the one he has with US authorities over allegations linked to 1MDB.

The following are random excerpts from a two-part video published by Al Jazeera.

Jho Low: You can record if you want.

To be honest, I’m happy to talk to you by WhatsApp, I’m happy to video-chat.
Because for me, it’s very transparent, I mean, if you all record or not, it’s fine totally, I have no issues.

As far as I’m concerned, I just want to do whatever it takes to sort of move on.
I’ve gone from at least being able to meet people, now I’m like in a lockdown, but okay.

On a deal with Putrajaya

You know, I wanted you to just convey if possible, to Tun Mahathir, that I really believe that the change in government presents a real opportunity to resolve these 1MDB-related issues, and I’m committed to achieve that.

Basically, I agree to give up all the assets in the US, and the monies will be used to directly repay 1MDB US dollar bonds.

The US doesn’t trust the Malaysian government, so we are not going to send back the money.

If I sign the deal, basically the Malaysian government would say, ‘OK, so are you now saying that the monies are allegedly from 1MDB?’, when the position is not.

But my position, I told them, ‘Look, in the US, you can sign settlement agreements which have no admission of wrongdoing.’

On hopes for a deal with Singapore

The attorney-general had numerous discussions with the Singapore AG, and they actually agreed to close off those charges, in return, I agree to waive my claims to all the assets, and they also agree to lift the Interpol red notices.

Singapore has also put a red notice on me, that’s why I have travel restrictions.

I have given up a lot of the assets, and there’s still a portion that I haven’t given up.

So I think if Singapore hears from Malaysia to say, ‘Look Mr Low is going to waive all his claims’, I can do it within the next five days, easy.

Obviously, in return, then, I need Singapore to lift my Interpol red notice, which they were willing to do, and in future they can’t file any new notices on me, but if they want to file new charges on me, that’s their business.

I’m willing to waive all my rights to all the assets, and then effectively say that the Malaysian government can take all of it.

And then in return, basically, you know, I would need Malaysia’s undertaking that because of my cooperation, this is settled and there would be no future proceedings against me, and so on and so forth.

So typically what happens is that we’re trying to sell all the assets, it makes it easier for the DoJ and Malaysia, so you all don’t have to deal at the assets level.

On selling off the Equanimity yacht

We are talking to them to try and move it from Indonesia to the Mediterranean because we think we can get a much higher price than the US. Because in the summer season, it’s easier to sell a boat.

When the time comes, we may need your help to talk to the Indonesians. But that would of course be with the DoJ’s…

‘Najib to blame, not me’

I just think it’s unfair that at the end of the day, whoever they want to say, but ultimately, I have no authority to make any decision.

It’s a pretty known fact that all the approvals have to be approved by the minister of finance.

To be honest, I know most of the people that can be very helpful if the objective is, ‘Let’s look at black and white, who’s at fault, is the prime minister at fault, is the first lady at fault?’

Then I think everyone can go back and prepare the documentation, so on so forth.

On Saudi ‘donation’ to Najib

I’ll just give you the reality. The reality is, it is true that King Abdullah actually agreed to give a donation to the PM. But that was a small portion of a larger portion.

So I think what they are trying to do is take the first section, and paint it all over this thing in general.

Nik Faisal’s (former CEO of SRC International) point is, he is happy to sign a statutory declaration, I’m going to make sure the SD is consistent to the factual events, and if that’s agreed, he can sign it and go back to continue his life.

On jewellery for Rosmah Mansor

I think the most challenging part is trying to identify the flows used to purchase all this jewellery.

I don’t have like an accurate number, because this thing happened over time. But I believe the number is north of half a billion dollars. It’s a huge number.

The China link

I think the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is the most important. It was like (inaudible) because of the One Belt One Road programme in Asia.

But I think the Chinese position is, I understand that the current government may need to adjust pricing, but I am pragmatic, but I don’t want to get involved in basically Najib-related items.

I don’t think they were thrown under the bus, but I think they are very concerned it impacts them from a reputational perspective.

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