Monday 17 Jun 2024
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This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on July 17, 2023 - July 23, 2023

After running away and hiding for five years, Jasmine Loo has decided to voluntarily return to Malaysia straight into the arms of the law. Loo was not a low-level executive whom Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, placed at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

She was the head of the legal department and played a pivotal role in putting together the various multibillion-dollar transactions that were nothing more than a fraud — the biggest theft of sovereign money ever. Loo was virtually working shoulder to shoulder with Jho Low, not only at 1MDB but also at other companies of his. And those who have dealt with her would attest to her steely and forceful personality in pushing things through.

Based on US Department of Justice information, Loo pocketed US$15 million (RM68.9 million) of stolen 1MDB cash — small change, perhaps, in the larger scheme of what was stolen, but still a lot of taxpayers’ money.

Loo has hired top law firm AmerBon Associates to represent her and it has issued a statement, part of which said she has trust in the Malaysian justice system. So, why run away from that same system for five years?

Her lawyers also said: “Our client has always treated Malaysia as her home. When appropriate, she will reveal the facts and circumstances surrounding her years away from Malaysia.”

To us, the two keywords are “when appropriate”.

Will AmerBon’s client be produced in court to be charged? After all, she has been slapped with a slew of criminal and civil suits, but she has escaped court appearances to face them.

Or is she under a witness protection programme and will turn crown witness instead — with all charges dropped?

The authorities must clarify.

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