PETALING JAYA: Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the editor of a website that chronicled the 1MDB saga, today challenged a journalist who co-authored a book about the alleged role of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, in the scandal to come clean over the source of his information.
Jho Low, who is mired in the controversy surrounding the state investment arm, is the subject of the book titled “Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World”.
It was written by two Pulitzer-finalist Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters, Tom Wright and Bradley Hope.
Rewcastle-Brown also recently published a book titled “The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé”, also involving Jho Low.
She is now demanding that Wright clarify how he landed the story detailing the transfer of US$681 million into the bank account of former prime minister Najib Razak.
She claimed the individual who provided the details was a Sarawak Report’s (SR) source.
In return for the favour and documents provided by the source, Rewcastle-Brown alleged that Wright agreed that he would mention SR in the article he wrote but failed to do so.
“That is not the only pledge he broke. He also said he would continue to contact the source through Sarawak Report, and not attempt to go behind Sarawak Report’s back,” she said in a blog post.
“Far more importantly, he also promised that he would not reproduce the documents themselves on his website, because the source was fearful that showing the documents would point to who they were.
“Nevertheless, shortly after the original story, Wright did put those documents up on the WSJ website, despite that promise, causing great fear to Sarawak Report’s source, many of whose colleagues were indeed arrested shortly after, in a search for the leak. As a result, that source did not approach Sarawak Report again.”
Rewcastle-Brown then pointed out that Wright now claims “a very different series of events” which led to him obtaining the documents on Najib’s account.
“According to this account, the source had been so impressed by Wright’s earlier articles on 1MDB (written after Sarawak Report had broken the original scandal) that they contacted him by email under an account called ‘SaveMalaysia’ and offered the material.”
According to Rewcastle-Brown, the intermediary who passed the actual documents to the journalist brushed off the claim and called them “bloody liars”.
With Wright announcing plans to have his book made into a movie and SR also planning a movie, Rewcastle-Brown said it was time for Wright to clarify how he got the story on Najib’s bank accounts.
Specifically, whether the source contacted him directly or if SR “handed him the story”.
She said Wright owes Malaysians his explanation on how he got the break in the story.
“Sarawak Report shared that story and documentation on Najib’s bank accounts with the Wall Street Journal in order to give the story more global attention and to make it harder for Najib to ignore than if it had come out only in this Malaysia-focused blog, which was already under enormous attack from his government.”