Asia Malaysia Now we're hearing about Jho Low's 'hidden hands' in the 1MDB scandal

Now we’re hearing about Jho Low’s ‘hidden hands’ in the 1MDB scandal

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The 1MDB problem is not going away. With each passing week, we acquire greater insights and we are witnessing the confirmation of speculations and rumours about the secret role of fugitive billionaire Jho Low.

Low was the topic of a gigantic best-selling book in the United States, ‘Billion Dollar Whale’.

He is still missing in action while the majority of the scandal’s actors and players are either imprisoned, sentenced, or awaiting final judgement and being investigated by courts.

Meanwhile, rumours circulate that Jho Low is a special guest of some Far Eastern nations and that he possesses multiple passports, much like a real-life version of high-flying crooks with numerous identities who can escape Interpol.

The magnitude of Jho Low’s position, who continues to deny the allegations and evidence given in courts throughout the world, is finally becoming clear.

If the witnesses’ statements are genuine and on oath and should be speaking the truth, then his invisibility and disappearances are as significant as his fame in the 1MDB case.

Azmi Tahir, the former chief financial officer of IMDB, testified in court yesterday that Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low, was the “hidden hand” in the affair.

He told the court that is why why 1MDB managers followed Low’s directives on 1MDB concerns while some other witnesses had told the court in Malaysia that they believed Jho Low’s commands were that of ex-PM Najib Razak and that he was only relaying it to the managerial team.

As the 12th prosecution witness in former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial for the embezzlement of more than RM2 billion in 1MDB money, Azmi stated that he thought Low’s orders came from Najib and that he felt Low was Najib’s agent.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Najib’s main defence lawyer, then asked if Azmi had ever verified with 1MDB’s board of directors to see if the 1MDB management could act on Low’s orders, the local media reported.

Shafee probed Azmi on his evidence, asking if he mentioned this in a board meeting, if the board can give me guidance, and if management can execute on Jho Low’s directives.

“I think I mentioned before, not long after Hazem came in, he got me to see Tan Sri Ismee to ask, so the response by Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, in all companies there are hidden hands, in Tabung Haji there are several, in 1MDB it is this person,” said Azmi.

Tan Sri Ismee Ismail was a former 1MDB director and he was also the CEO of Malaysia’s Muslims pilgrimage fund board Lembaga Tabung Haji from 2006 to 2016.

According to witnesses, this is how Low operate behind the scene.

He held no formal responsibilities in 1MDB, but witnesses in this trial stated that he offered talking points and directives on 1MDB topics and was regarded by 1MDB senior management as Najib’s adviser and spokesman for 1MDB activities.

When explaining why he thought Low’s orders were from Najib, Azmi mentioned that Najib’s then-principal private secretary, Datuk Azlin Alias, had introduced Low as acting for Najib.

Azmi also mentioned a trip he took on Low’s orders to a Middle Eastern country to submit online news reporting on 1MDB by financial news source The Edge to then-prime minister Najib in a hotel there.

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