KUALA LUMPUR (July 16): The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) confirmed on Saturday (July 16) that it had rejected offers from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low’s representatives in a series of meetings to resolve, settle and annul his criminal charges with the Malaysian government.
In a statement, Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun confirmed that Low, through his representatives, had made attempts to engage with the government for a settlement this year. However, Idrus said Low had failed to strike a deal, and all offers from Low were rejected.
“All offers for a settlement from Jho Low’s representatives were rejected by the AGC,” Idrus said.
Idrus did not name the representatives, but former AG Tan Sri Apandi Ali, who had facilitated the meetings, revealed to The Edge that Low’s representatives were from Kobre & Kim, a law firm from Washington DC.
“The AGC confirms that Jho Low, through his representatives, has made attempts to engage with the Government of Malaysia for a settlement this year,” Idrus said in the statement.
“In these attempts, Low’s representative had met with several government agencies, including the AGC,” he added.
Apandi in a statement to The Edge earlier on Saturday had said the meetings were cancelled.
In his statement, Apandi said the government agencies in attendance at these meetings were the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), an officer from the AGC, Idrus and Apandi himself.
On Friday, The Edge reported that Low, who is accused of masterminding the siphoning of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), had offered RM1.5 billion to the Malaysian government to resolve the charges against him, according to sources who were aware of these meetings.
The report also stated that the Malaysian government had rejected the proposal by Low’s team.
Low, who is accused of siphoning money from 1MDB, is facing a US$3.78 billion (about RM15.85 billion) suit filed by 1MDB and its four subsidiaries.
It was also reported that Apandi was representing him in negotiations with the Malaysian government.
Apandi had previously cleared then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak of any wrongdoing in 1MDB in 2016 during Apandi's tenure as AG under Najib's administration.
Following a change in government in 2018, Najib was charged with abusing his position as prime minister and finance minister, as well as chairman of 1MDB's board of advisers, to receive gratification.
He is also facing money laundering charges involving RM4.3 billion of 1MDB monies.
While the trial for these charges is ongoing, Najib was found guilty by the High Court on July 28, 2020 of abusing his power in relation to the approval of RM4 billion worth of loans from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.
He was also convicted of three counts each of criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC funds that went into his personal bank accounts between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015.
Other than the US$3.78 billion civil suit, Low is facing criminal charges for his role in the 1MDB saga. He was slapped with eight charges in absentia in 2018 under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act, 2001 (Act 613). Three of the charges were for receiving 1MDB funds, while five were for transferring 1MDB funds.
Low was later additionally charged with five more counts of money laundering involving transfers totalling US$1.03 billion into a Swiss Bank account between Sept 30, 2009, and October 25, 2011, and two other money laundering charges for receiving US$126 million in a Singapore-based bank account.
In 2020, the MACC brought another charge against Low and his associates, this time allegedly engaging in a criminal conspiracy to enable Najib to use his position to receive a bribe totalling RM60.63 million.
In the United States, Low has been charged in New York for conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB and for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to various Malaysians and officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was also separately charged in the District of Columbia for conspiring to make and conceal foreign and conduit campaign contributions during the US presidential election in 2012.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has alleged that as much as US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014 by Low and his co-conspirators, which included officials from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, in UAE.
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