Return to fight your legal battle, lawyer tells Jho Low

Joh Low criticised the authorities over the seizure of money in his father’s bank accounts. (Bloomberg pic)

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has asked fugitive financier Low Taek Jho to stop “throwing stones from afar” on Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration and casting aspersions on the Malaysian judiciary.

Instead, Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali said that Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, should return home with his father, Larry Low Hock Peng, to clear their names in a court of law here.

“At the moment, he is good at hiding behind a blurred legal team and throwing stones from afar.

“Issuing political statements and alleging that the judiciary is influenced by the executive is at best a red herring seeking to divert from the actual issue,” Rafique told FMT.

He said if at all Taek Jho and Hock Peng felt that civil proceedings here were “improper”, they could engage lawyers to mount legal challenges.

“The executive and judiciary are totally separate. One cannot influence the other. Maybe Taek Jho needs to be educated on the Malaysian legal system and needs to change his overseas legal team,” he said.

He said this in response to Taek Jho’s criticism of the authorities over the seizure of money in his father’s bank accounts following a High Court order on Friday morning.

A spokesman for Taek Jho said the seizure was “improper” and “the inevitable result of illegitimate proceedings brought by the Mahathir regime”.

In a statement issued through his legal team, he said “the outcome was preordained and politically motivated, blurring the lines between executive and judicial power”.

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur had earlier allowed the government to confiscate about RM48 million deposited in bank accounts belonging to Hock Peng.

This came after deputy public prosecutor Aaron Chelliah informed the court that no third party had appeared to make a claim on the money.

He said Hock Peng’s lawyers could apply to set aside the order to forfeit the money.

“But they have to give valid grounds for why the government should not seize the money, or else the order of the court remains,” Chelliah told FMT.

Malaysian police have also sought assistance from Interpol to locate the father and son but have not been successful.

In August last year, Taek Jho and Hock Peng were charged with offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 in connection with money allegedly stolen from 1MDB.

Taek Jho was charged with eight counts of money laundering while Hock Peng faces one charge.

Taek Jho is also facing charges by the US Department of Justice over funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB and paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.