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Strike two for Jho Low in bid for Malaysia deal after talks attended by ex-AG Apandi

The former attorney-general refuses to divulge details, saying the matter is 'confidential'.

2 minute read
Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.
Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho approached authorities in Malaysia as recently as several weeks ago in a bid to negotiate a deal that would allow him to travel to the US to settle cases related to the 1MDB scandal, MalaysiaNow can reveal.

It is also learnt that the discussions were held in the presence of Mohamed Apandi Ali.

MalaysiaNow cannot independently confirm the capacity in which the former attorney-general had attended the session, which was also joined by Low's lawyers from law firm Kobre & Kim.

When asked about his role, Apandi was tightlipped on details.

"Sorry. The information, if any, is confidential," Apandi, who served as attorney-general at the height of the 1MDB saga under Najib Razak's administration, told MalaysiaNow.

Apandi had drawn fire after clearing Najib of wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.

He recently stated that the controversial decision was made as key witnesses including Low, better known as Jho Low, had absconded.

Meanwhile, MalaysiaNow has reliably learnt that Low had sought assistance from Malaysia to lift the red notice issued against him by Interpol, preventing him from travelling to the US where he has reached a settlement with the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The federal department has accused him of stealing billions of dollars from 1MDB.

"He was seeking Malaysia's assistance with regards to his Malaysian passport.

"He made the request but failed to fulfil the conditions we set, including the return of the money which he siphoned off from 1MDB," said a source familiar with recent talks held with high-level authorities involved in the 1MDB case.

Low is widely considered as having played a central role in the 1MDB scandal, and the DoJ has called him the mastermind of the scheme to siphon off US$4.5 billion from the state fund into his personal accounts.

His whereabouts have never been confirmed, but a warrant of arrest was issued against him by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The anti-graft body also issued an alert to Interpol against him and two others.

This is not the first time Low has approached authorities in Malaysia, where he has been charged in absentia with criminal conspiracy with Najib in the 1MDB scandal.

Two years ago, news channel Al Jazeera revealed explosive phone conversations showing how Low had tried to strike a deal with Malaysian authorities without demonstrating any remorse for his actions.