KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 (Reuters) – Malaysia is seeking to arrest finance company Low Taek Jho, who is believed to be living abroad, for his involvement in a corruption scandal at the 1 Malayaia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday.
Bbad, popularly known as Jho Low, was considered close to former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his family, and is seen as a central figure in the 1MDB scandal, which is the subject of multi-million dollar money laundering investigations into course in Malaysia and around the world.
"We are trying to arrest Jho Low, but he is not in the country, and we do not have extradition rights in the country where he is staying," Mahathir told reporters.
He did not say in which country Low was.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) issued an arrest warrant for Low, as well as Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, director of the 1MDB SRM International unit, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier.
The MACC was also seeking help from authorities in countries where Low was believed to be staying, the source said, and declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
He advised on investments and negotiated agreements for 1MDB, although he never had any official role in the fund.
Warrants were also being prepared for Roger Ng, a former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, and former 1MDB head Shahrol Halmi, the source said.
1MDB was founded by Najib in 2009 and is subject to money laundering surveys in at least six countries, including the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.
The US Department of Justice UU He has alleged that more than $ 4.5 billion were diverted from 1MDB, and about $ 700 million went to Najib's personal bank accounts.
Najib has denied wrongdoing.
On Thursday, MACC issued a notice to Low and Nik Faisal to contact the commission immediately to badist in their investigation. Low, through his lawyers, said he would cooperate.
Fortified by a new government elected last month, the agency relaunched an investigation into why $ 10.6 million of SRC was transferred to Najib's bank account.
Anti-graft agents have questioned both Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, after their electoral defeat last month before the former mentor turned enemy Mahathir.
Goldman Sachs had helped 1MDB raise $ 6.5 billion in three bond sales in 2012 and 2013 to invest in energy and real estate projects to boost Malaysia's economy.
Instead, more than $ 2.5 billion raised from those bonds were embezzled and used to buy works of art, luxury properties in New York and London, and to pay gambling debts in Las Vegas, as alleged the US Department of Justice UU (Edited by Darren Schuettler and Michael Perry)