RM190 million New York condos latest Jho Low properties to be sold

Fugitive Jho Low acquired the Time Warner penthouse on New York’s Columbus Circle in 2011. (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: Two luxury New York City condominiums that fugitive financier Lee Taek Jho is accused of buying with money stolen from 1MDB are to be sold as part of US forfeiture lawsuits targeting the properties.

Lawyers for Low – better known as Jho Low – and the US on Wednesday asked a Los Angeles federal judge to let them take the first step toward listing sales of the US$31 million (RM130 million) Time Warner penthouse at 80 Columbus Circle, which Low acquired in 2011, and a US$14 million (RM58.5 million) condo at 118 Greene Street that he bought in 2014.

Who will keep the proceeds remains unresolved, while Low continues to fight the forfeiture suits.

Low is the alleged mastermind behind the multibillion-dollar theft from the 1MDB fund.

Prosecutors say the money was used to buy real estate in California and New York, a US$250 million yacht, works of art by Picasso and Monet, a private jet and millions of dollars worth of jewelry for his one-time girlfriend, actress Miranda Kerr.

Some of the assets that the US has been trying to seize, including Low’s stake in EMI Music Publishing, have been liquidated per court order and the proceeds are being held pending the outcome of the forfeiture lawsuits.

This month, federal prosecutors and Low’s lawyers asked the Los Angeles judge for permission to sell a US$39 million mansion in Los Angeles because the empty estate was too expensive to maintain.

“Mr Low is aware of two further successfully negotiated agreements with the US government,” a representative of Low said in a statement.

“This continued ongoing collaboration is crucial in order to protect both the value of the assets and the parties’ legal rights.”