20180925HAB3

Author: Jho Low tried to meet Dr M

A-      A+

KUALA LUMPUR — Fugitive Low Taek Jho offered to meet with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week, US journalist Tom Wright said yesterday.

The co-author of Billion Dollar Whale revealed this when asked if he knew whether the fugitive financier also known as Jho Low remained in contact with the Malaysian government now that Barisan Nasional is no longer in power.

“Yes, he is. He optimistically offered to help the current government in the US … to arrange Dr Mahathir’s meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly,” Wright said while expressing incredulity at Low’s aplomb.

The Wall Street Journal writer declined to share the source of this information.

Dr Mahathir is in New York for the UN General Assembly and is due to address the assembly on Friday.

Wright also weighed in on Sarawak Report’s expose on Monday, claiming Low is attempting to get the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to drop his case. He said such a deal would not go through.

“The DoJ is not going to cut a deal with a man allegedly at the centre of a fraud,” he said.

“That’s not how plea bargain works.”

When it was pointed out that Red Granite Pictures linked to Low and owned by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s son Riza Aziz had received a deal, Wright begged to differ.

“They didn’t cut a deal with Red Granite. The US film production and distribution company agreed before the civil lawsuits had run their course to voluntarily return profits from the film,” he said.

Yesterday, Red Granite paid the remainder of the US$60 million (RM248 million) settlement to end its role in DoJ’s kleptocracy action linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the Variety website reported.

It said the production company behind The Wolf of Wall Street and Daddy’s Home reached a deal with federal prosecutors in March.

“Red Granite has paid its obligation to the government in full,” the firm reportedly said.

Riza, a son from Rosmah’s previous marriage before she married former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, founded Red Granite with movie producer Joey McFarland in 2010.

In a radio interview earlier yesterday, Wright said Rosmah had given Low complete access to the corridors of power in Putrajaya.

He said on the BFM Breakfast Grille programme that Low’s relationship with Rosmah was effectively gaining the ear of then prime minister Najib.

Wright said the connection was made via Riza.

“Rosmah is important because she helps Jho Low to get in the centre of power in Malaysia and she benefits from this,” he said, alleging she was rewarded with jewellery and cash, among others, for this.

Authorities have charged Najib with over 30 offences related to slush funds allegedly from 1MDB.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said yesterday it was done investigating Rosmah and had submitted its findings and recommendations to prosecutors for further action.

Last month, Malaysia issued arrest warrants against Jho Low, 37, and his father, Tan Sri Larry Low, 66, in absentia after both were charged with money laundering.