China denies harbouring alleged 1MDB mastermind Jho Low

WION Web Team Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Jul 30, 2020, 04.03 PM(IST)

Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low Photograph:( Reuters )

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Low, popularly known as Jho Low, has been charged in Malaysia and the United States over allegations that he orchestrated the theft of $4.5 billion from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), co-founded by former prime minister Najib Razak. 

China denied Thursday it was harbouring a fugitive financier wanted over the massive 1MDB corruption scandal, after Malaysian police said he was hiding in Macau.

Low, popularly known as Jho Low, has been charged in Malaysia and the United States over allegations that he orchestrated the theft of $4.5 billion from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), co-founded by former prime minister Najib Razak. Low has consistently denied wrongdoing.

The money was used to buy everything from a super yacht to art in a scam that also involved former Malaysian premier Najib Razak, who was convicted in his first 1MDB-linked trial this week.

Malaysia's national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador was reported by newspaper Utusan Malaysia as saying Low was hiding in Macau and that attempts to extradite him had failed as Chinese authorities "appeared insincere" in their efforts to cooperate.

Also read: Malaysia's former PM Najib Razak found guilty on a charge of abuse of power

Chinese authorities rejected the accusations as "groundless and unacceptable", saying that police had investigated all possible leads but were unable to trace Low.

"The position of the Chinese government on combating crime is consistent and clear-cut," the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur said in a statement. "China does not and will never shelter foreign criminals."

The embassy added that China would continue to give support and assistance to Malaysia in its investigations.

A spokesman for Low did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. He previously said Low had been offered asylum in an unidentified country.

At least six countries have opened money laundering and graft investigations into 1MDB, co-founded by ex-premier Najib in 2009.

On Tuesday Najib was sentenced to 12 years' jail and nearly $50 million in fines for illegally receiving $10 million from a former 1MDB unit.