Three years after the US filed a court complaint against Jho Low, the Malaysian businessman and his family have agreed to forfeit over US$700 million in property and investments allegedly linked to 1MDB.
These include luxury homes, a Mandarin Oriental serviced apartment, and a Bombardier jet.
Under the agreement reached on Wednesday (Oct 30), Low will keep US$15 million to pay his lawyers’ legal fees.
The billionaire described the agreement – which took over a year to negotiate – as a “positive resolution”, but said it did not constitute an admission of guilt.
“I am innocent… I am confident that as facts come to light, the truth will be revealed,” he added in a signed letter.
A year after his super-yacht was seized under the 1MDB scandal, fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low and his family have agreed on Wednesday (Oct 30) to give up claims to over US$700 million (RM29 million) more assets believed to be purchased with stolen money.
According to a statement from the the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Low’s assets include luxury properties, a boutique hotel, and various multi-million dollar investments he allegedly made with 1MDB funds.
- A Bombardier Global 5000 private jet
- A luxury home along Oriole Drive in Beverly Hills, California
- A serviced apartment in the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan, New York
- A luxury home along Greene Street in New York’s Soho district
- Three luxury homes on Stratton Street in London’s Mayfair district
- Certain rights and interests in the Electrum Group
- Stocks under FW Sports Investments
- Profits from EMI Music Publishing and D.H. Publishing paid to JW Nile (BVI) Ltd, JCL Media and Jynwel Capital
- Partial ownership of the Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills and its business assets, plus certain rights and interests to The Viceroy Hotel Group
DOJ criminal division assistant Attorney-General Brian A. Benczkowski said Low used these alleged embezzled funds to “engage in extravagant spending sprees, acquire one-of-kind artwork and luxury real estate, gamble freely at casinos, and prop up his lavish lifestyle”.
“This settlement agreement forces Low and his family to relinquish hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains that were intended to be used for the benefit of the Malaysian people,” he added.
The settlement, which draws the curtain on a three-year-long civil forfeiture complaint in a California court, comes after Low had his US$120 million super yacht seized last March, and US$20 million investments in Park Lane Hotel New York forfeited last November.
A civil forfeiture complaint is an allegation that money or property was involved in a crime.
The DOJ said that in total, it had helped recover over US$1 billion in 1MDB monies – the largest civil forfeiture ever concluded.
It added that the settlement did not release Low from any criminal charges. Other pending charges against him include money laundering, corruption, bribery, and secretly financing campaigns in the 2012 US Presidential elections, the statement added.
Calling the agreement “historic”, Low said in a statement through his lawyers that the settlement was the result of “good faith discussions” and “a series of successful prior agreements” negotiated with the DOJ.
He added that the agreement did not “constitute an admission of guilt, liability or any form of wrongdoing by me or the asset owners”.
“We believe all parties consider this resolution, which is subject to final court approval, to be a successful and satisfactory result,” he said.
Here’s the full letter about the settlement Low published to his website on Wednesday:
Welcome to Jho-Low.com.
For the past several years, I have been subject to a series of allegations across the globe in relation to the operations of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”), a strategic investment and development company wholly-owned by the Government of Malaysia. Many of the allegations have originated from blog posts, improper leaks from within Governmental agencies around the world, or unproven allegations filed in court, where I have never been afforded an opportunity to set the record straight. In the absence of objective and balanced reporting, these unproven allegations have been improperly elevated to the status of facts; when the true position is that none of these allegations have ever been proven in a court of law.
This website is an effort to change that. My goal is to provide a balanced view of the allegations and the truth behind these matters.
After a multiyear, collaborative effort between my legal team and the United States Government, we have reached a landmark global, comprehensive settlement filed in court on 30 October 2019, which fully and finally, resolves in their entirety all of the forfeiture actions at issue. I am deeply appreciative of my lawyers and the trustees of the trusts, as well as the U.S. government for the constructive nature of these discussions, which enabled this positive resolution.
As I have maintained over the last several years, I am innocent. I will continue to fight the broad, sweeping, unproven, biased and politically motivated allegations against me, and I am confident that as facts come to light, the truth will be revealed. I only ask that everyone — courts, prosecutors, and the general public — keep an open mind until all of the facts are presented.
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