London law firm paid US$1.3 million for Jho Low PR campaign, report says

Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho. (Bloomberg pic)

PETALING JAYA: The London-based law firm involved in the defence of Low Taek Jho was paid US$1.3 million for its work on a public relations campaign for the fugitive businessman from January 2019 to March 2020, The Guardian reports.

Citing US lobbying disclosures submitted last month, the report said Schillings’ activities included helping to prepare press releases and maintain a website for Low, who is accused of masterminding a scheme to siphon billions of dollars from state investment fund 1MDB.

According to the report, Low is described on the website as “a global philanthropist, investor, and entrepreneur” who believes “he will be vindicated once all the relevant evidence has been presented in a fair and legitimate court of law”.

Schillings was also involved in work aimed at “informing public information in the US”, the report said.

Prosecutors say Low, popularly known as Jho Low, orchestrated the theft of more than US$4 billion from 1MDB that ended up paying for a private jet, a superyacht, mansions, diamonds and Hollywood movie productions.

Jho Low has consistently maintained his innocence.

It was reported in November 2018 that Schillings had received US$349,000 for part of its work on the public relations effort for Jho Low.

The New York Times cited filings made by the law firm to the US Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act or Fara.

Fara requires most consultants who lobby or assist with public relations in the US for foreign individuals, companies, governments and political parties to reveal detailed information about their work and payments for it. It is intended to prevent foreign actors from surreptitiously influencing US politics and public policy.

Schillings said in its filing that its decision to provide “Fara-registrable activities” was made “as a result of privileged and confidential email and oral communications”.

A lawyer for Schillings which responded to The Guardian’s report said the firm had complied with all applicable laws and regulations.

The firm had “nothing further to add” to the contents of the Fara filings, he was quoted as saying.

Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.