Swiss bank hands over documents on UAE envoy linked to Jho Low

PETALING JAYA: Swiss private bank Lombard Odier has reportedly handed over to authorities some 900 pages of paperwork related to the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the US, who is allegedly linked to 1MDB and businessman Low Taek Jho.

This was according to Swiss newspaper Le Temps, which also cited hacked email correspondence between the ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba, and Low, better known as Jho Low.

The report said Otaiba had financial dealings with Jho Low but appeared wary of the businessman, refusing on one occasion to write him a recommendation for Goldman Sachs’ wealth operation in Switzerland.

In another email, Otaiba said that Jho Low needed to “calm down and quit partying”, referring to the businessman’s penchant for the Hollywood and red carpet scene.

The report, cited by financial news portal, said Otaiba had been a client of Lombard Odier until last year, when the bank shut down his account.

The relationship between Otaiba and Jho Low came to light early this month, when the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said stolen emails showed Otaiba and his Jordanian partner Shaher Awartani had discussed enquiries they had received from US, Swiss and Singaporean authorities about transactions they had allegedly received from entities connected to Jho Low.

Jho Low has been named by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) as being at the centre of the alleged misappropriation of US$4.5 billion from 1MDB. However, 1MDB itself has said no funds are missing from it.

Jho Low has also denied any wrongdoing, with his spokesperson saying the leaked emails created a “biased and inaccurate picture”.

According to WSJ, companies connected to Otaiba had allegedly received US$66 million from entities investigators said acted as conduits for money said to have been stolen from 1MDB.

The stolen emails, WSJ said, appeared to show Otaiba using his diplomatic influence to persuade banks to give loans, saying it was important for UAE-Malaysia relations.

Stolen emails seem to further entangle Jho Low in 1MDB affair