PETALING JAYA: Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, today slammed the book written by two Wall Street Journal journalists on his alleged role in the 1MDB affair, calling it “guilt by lifestyle and trial by media at its worst”.
Jho Low, who is on the run from authorities in Malaysia and several other countries over 1MDB, accused Tom Wright and Bradley Hope of “attempting to write ‘instant history’ without the benefit of evidence and before the issues had even begun to be resolved”.
A statement issued by a spokesman said reviewers and commentators from the Financial Times and the Australian Financial Review, among others, had pointed out that “Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World” was mostly about the transactions undertaken by global financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds and 1MDB managers who were experienced “and knew exactly what they were doing”.
“In fact, Mr Low seems to disappear from the narrative when any of the alleged fraud occurs, only to then be accused – without any evidence – of having been responsible for it,” the statement said.
Adding that “that sort of tale doesn’t sell books or get the authors a movie deal”, the statement claimed “Billion Dollar Whale” had been written with “allegations disguised as fact and gossip passed off as legitimate reporting”.
“The narrative is framed to allow the authors to write about celebrities, and models and parties, without ever proving any of the allegations.
“Rather than wait for the full facts surrounding this case to emerge, the authors chose to publish their tale while there are ongoing and unresolved proceedings in the US, and before a single piece of evidence has been produced before any court.”
“Billion Dollar Whale” was released by Hachette Books on Tuesday.
Jho Low had reportedly sought to ban the book, along with “The Sarawak Report”, written by the whistleblower site’s editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown.
He is also said to have hired several politically connected lawyers in the US to defend his interests in a probe by the Department of Justice.
Low – who is wanted in Malaysia for money laundering and has been described in US court filings as the man who siphoned more than US$4 billion from 1MDB – retained former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and one of President Donald Trump’s go-to law firms, Kasowitz Benson Torres, among others.
He has also retained Bobby Burchfield of King & Spalding’s Washington DC office.