Cyprus newspaper Politis has alleged that wanted businessman Jho Low bought a Cypriot passport in 2015, just as 1MDB launched its investigation against him.
A photo of the alleged passport made headlines in the paper on Sunday (Nov 3).
It claims Low got the passport through citizenship broker Henley & Partners.
Politis also claimed that Low owns a million-dollar Cyprus beach villa procured by Henley Estates, a company affiliated with Henley & Partners.
Henley & Partners told Business Insider that Low has never been a client.
Note: This article was updated on Nov 6 to include comments from Henley & Partners.
Where is Jho Low? According to a news report from Cyprus, you may well find the wanted Malaysian businessman sunning himself on the island country’s sandy beaches in a luxury villa.
Local newspaper Politis published a photo of Low’s alleged Republic of Cyprus passport on Sunday (Nov 3), claiming he also owned a multi-million dollar home on the Mediterranean island.
— Εφημερίδα Πολίτης – Politis.com.cy (@politis_news) November 3, 2019
The alleged passport listed the date of issue as Nov 22, 2015 – around the time Low fled Malaysia over 1MDB investigations.
Politis’ article – translated by whistleblowing blog Sarawak Report, who first broke the 1MDB scandal in 2015 – claimed Low obtained the passport through international citizenship broker Henley & Partners.
This is the same firm that secured his previous St Kitts and Nevis passport, the blog added.
Calling the claims “misleading” and “taken entirely out of context”, Henley & Partners said in a statement shared with Business Insider that Low approached the firm in 2015, but it declined to accept him as a client.
“Mr Low has never been a client of Henley & Partners,” it emphasised. “Neither Henley Estates, nor any other Henley & Partners Group company has ever been in any contractual relationship with Mr Low or any corporate vehicle that he controls.”
The global broker added that it had “invested significant time and capital in creating a corporate structure wedded to best practice governance and the highest levels of due diligence.”
According to Politis, Low likely got his papers via Cyprus’ controversial Golden Visa program, which requires aspiring citizens to deposit 5 million euros (RM23 million, US$5.6 million) in a local bank for three years, and buy a house worth at least half a million euros.
Politis claimed Low deposited 5.9 million euros in a Cypriot bank on June 24, 2015, arrived in Cyprus on Sep 18 the same year, and got his passport within two days thanks to an express procedure.
Five days later, he allegedly bought a villa in Limnara on in the island’s popular Ayia Napa resort town for €5 million (RM23 million) through Henley Estates, the paper added.
Aiya Napa is known for its stunning beaches, often ranking among the world’s best.
According to its website, Henley Estates – which is affiliated with Henley & Partners – advises clients on buying, selling, and structuring real estate worldwide.
The firm categorically denied that it was involved in obtaining the villa.
Documentation of the alleged home reproduced by Politis listed it as “House Number 23, Plot 403, Limnara”.