KUALA LUMPUR — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday he must be “greater” than US President Donald Trump to be able to influence the US government, as alleged by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.
The Penang-born tycoon, wanted for investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) global financial scandal, had accused the Mahathir administration of “lying and putting words into the US’ mouth” on matters related to his purported purchase of the superyacht Equanimity.
“I must be very proud if I can put words into the mouth of the US government,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after visiting an art exhibition at Perdana University in Serdang.
“I must be greater than Trump.”
Earlier yesterday, Low rejected Putrajaya’s assertion the US government has proven that Equanimity was bought with money stolen from 1MDB.
Instead, he accused the government of “lying and putting words into the US’ mouth”, pointing out that the US case against Equanimity was still pending in
“The US hasn’t proven anything. The truth is this: The US filed unproven allegations in a civil forfeiture complaint more than a year ago — then halted the proceedings before any party had any meaningful chance to respond,” a spokesman for Low said in an emailed statement through his New York-based law firm PRCG.
According to Low’s unnamed representative, the US said the opposite in its court filings.
International news wire Bloomberg reported that lawyers for Low had filed a case in a Los Angeles federal court last Thursday for the US government to clarify the Malaysian government’s expression of thanks to it after the Department of Justice said it was not involved in the transfer of Equanimity to Malaysia.
Low’s spokesman accused Dr Mahathir of “ignoring the law solely for political purposes”, adding that despite the US saying it has no knowledge of Equanimity’s seizure, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had said it was done after “sensitive and delicate negotiations with the United States”.