PETALING JAYA: Penang-born tycoon Low Taek Jho has reportedly responded to the US Justice Department’s (DoJ) move to seize another US$540 million in assets purportedly stolen from 1MDB and used to fund extravagant spending.
In a tweet attributed to Low and shared by Wall Street Journal reporter Bradley Hope, the tycoon, popularly known as Jho Low, reportedly slammed the DoJ, saying it had not proven that any improprieties had occurred.
“The US Department of Justice’s latest move continues its inappropriate efforts to seize assets despite not having proven that any improprieties have occurred.
“This week’s activity from the DoJ is a further example of global overreach in pursuit of a deeply flawed case.
“We look forward to the court being presented with the actual facts which demonstrate that the DoJ’s case is completely without foundation,” the tweet read.
Hope, who shared the tweet today, said it was Low’s first statement in over two years.
“Jho Low’s first statement in more than two years, following DoJ’s new suits against his assets incl. $250m yacht #1MDB #Malaysia,” he said on his Twitter account.
Low has, in the past, denied any wrongdoing.
The DoJ’s latest move follows court cases launched last year in which Washington sought to confiscate more than US$1 billion allegedly embezzled by businessmen with political connections in Malaysia, bringing the total amount US officials say was stolen to US$4.5 billion.
The items cited in the new suit as subject to seizure include a Park Avenue condominium, diamond jewellery, shares of fitness club operator Fly Wheel Sports Inc, a painting by Pablo Picasso titled “Nature Morte au Crane de Taureau” and rights to the 2014 film “Dumb and Dumber To”.
The government also wants to seize a luxury yacht, the Equanimity.
Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali dismissed the suit, saying the DoJ had yet to provide any evidence of misappropriated funds from 1MDB.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), meanwhile, suggested that the allegations were aimed at smearing certain individuals and had arisen from input by political opponents.
In a press statement today, the prime minister’s press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad said: “We are also concerned by the unnecessary and gratuitous naming of certain matters and individuals that are only relevant to domestic political manipulation and interference. This suggests a motivation that goes beyond the objective of seizing assets.”