Malaysia aware of Interpol’s red notices against Jho Low, says Singapore

Financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, is being sought by Singapore authorities investigating the flow of 1MDB funds. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: Singapore authorities today confirmed that Interpol had published “red notices” against financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, and Tan Kim Loong in relation to the probe on 1MDB fund flows.

Tan was the named beneficial owner of four accounts maintained at Falcon Bank which were used to funnel 1MDB money. It has been alleged that these accounts were, in fact, run by Low.

Falcon’s operations in Singapore were shut down by Singapore regulators for being used for money laundering transactions linked to 1MDB, the biggest money laundering scandal to ever hit Singapore.

In a joint statement issued by Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), Commercial Affairs Department, the Singapore police and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the authorities said the red notices were published in October 2016 following Singapore’s request.

An Interpol red notice is a request by a member country to locate and provisionally arrest a person based on a valid national arrest warrant.

“Singapore law enforcement and regulatory agencies have been actively investigating possible money laundering and other offences pertaining to 1MDB-related fund flows, starting in March 2015.

“Following investigations, the Singapore authorities issued warrants of arrest in April/May 2016 and, at Singapore’s request, Interpol published red notices in October 2016 for Low and Tan, who are suspected to have committed offences in Singapore and cannot be located here (in Singapore).

“All members of Interpol, including Malaysia, would have been aware of the red notices when they were published,” the statement said.

Earlier, it was reported that Malaysian authorities conducting a probe into troubled state investment fund 1MDB had issued an arrest warrant for Low and were preparing warrants for two others, including a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) also issued an arrest warrant for Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, a former official at a 1MDB unit, according to one of the people with knowledge of the matter.

The agency is preparing warrants for the fund’s ex-chief, Shahrol Halmi, and Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker focused on Malaysia who left the firm in 2014, the people said.

The four individuals have not been charged with any wrongdoing, and it is unclear what suspicions underpin the warrants.

Yesterday, it was reported that Low had instructed his lawyers to make contact with MACC after he was made aware that they were seeking him for assistance.

Low, who previously said he did consulting work for 1MDB, is portrayed by some global investigators as a central figure behind some of the schemes involving missing funds at the state investment company. He has denied wrongdoing.

US prosecutors had painted Low as a bon vivant and a central figure who set up shell companies and arranged the transfers of tens of millions of dollars to pay Malaysian government officials, while Singapore investigators have called him a “key person of interest”.

The Singapore authorities said the republic would not tolerate the use of its financial system as a refuge or conduit for illicit funds.

“We have taken strong action against financial institutions and individuals who have broken laws within our jurisdiction in connection with 1MDB-related fund flows, including criminal charges and convictions, as well as large financial penalties,” they said in today’s statement.

The statement also said that investigations were continuing into several other individuals suspected of being involved in 1MDB-related offences in Singapore.

The Singapore authorities met with the Malaysian 1MDB task force led by former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail in Singapore on Thursday.

The authorities said in a statement that it was a productive meeting, with a fruitful exchange of information.

“Singapore has been providing Malaysia information on 1MDB-related fund flows, since March 2015, and this was acknowledged by Malaysia. Both sides agreed to continue this cooperation,” the statement said.