A former aide to fugitive Jho Low – wanted for his central role in the multi-billion dollar 1MDB corruption scandal – has died weeks after being questioned by the authorities on Low's whereabouts, his lawyers said today.
Kee Kok Thiam, 56, died in a hospital of a "sudden massive stroke" on Monday, Valen, Oh & Partners said in a statement. They did not provide any other details.
Kee was an associate of Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho, a businessman who is wanted in at least three countries after Malaysian and US authorities identified him as the mastermind of the looting.
Earlier in May, Kee was repatriated to Malaysia from Macau after five years on the run. He was questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on arrival and had his house searched.
He had allegedly received funds misappropriated from 1MDB.
An Al Jazeera report on Tuesday said Kee had confirmed to the MACC that he had met Low and other 1MDB fugitives and suspects in Macau, a special administrative region of China.
MACC confirmed it had made the comments to Al Jazeera, but did not disclose details.
The anti-graft agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kee's death.
The authorities previously said Low was believed to be in China, though Beijing has denied that.
Low has been charged in Malaysia and the US for allegedly masterminding the theft of US$4.5 billion from now-defunct fund 1MDB. He has consistently denied wrongdoing.
At least six countries have opened probes into 1MDB, in a wide-ranging scandal that has ensnared financial institutions, Hollywood stars and high-ranking officials across the globe.
Former prime minister Najib Razak, who co-founded 1MDB, was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year for graft linked to the scandal.