Wising up to a Billion Dollar Whale of a tale


 

Wising up to a whale of a tale

Once upon a time, Malaysians were enchanted with Jho Lows champagne lifestyle and proud that he had friends in high places. We now know better.

IF a poll was conducted to ask Malaysians to name their 10 most hated people, Low Taek Jho – also known as Jho Low – would surely be in the top five, if not three.

There has been a quick succession of books on the 1Malaysia Dev­elopment Bhd (1MDB) saga and in the one by two Wall Street Journal reporters, Billion Dollar Whale, Low is the central villainous character.

Yet for a brief shining moment, this man was the pride of his home state and the nation.

Then Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng was reported as saying that he was proud to note the accomplishments of overseas Pen­angites, including this particularly “well-connected” fellow.

That was back in July 2010 when a mysterious Malaysian man of means started hitting the headlines for partying with the likes of Paris Hilton, and counted actors Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio and singer Usher as his good friends.

When Hilton – the glamour party girl before the Kardashians overtook her – was detained by drug enforcement officers in Paris in 2010, she was reportedly travelling with “personalities close to power in Malay­sia”, Low being identified as one of them.

In just three months, his champagne-infused big spending ways – US$50,000 (RM206,800) or US$60,000 (RM248,190) a pop – set New York’s nightlife scene on fire and caught the attention of the US media. And that was how Low became famous.

Oh wait! He’s Malaysian, not some little emperor from Shanghai or Shen­zhen, so we puffed up with pride at the success of one of our own.

Somehow, the ability to party with the rich and famous became a yardstick for success. The assumption was that Low must have done something great to be so filthy rich and make such “friends”.

Low, then 28, became a subject of intense curiosity that Malaysian and foreign media wanted to know.

Then The Star landed an exclusive interview with him. The two hours with him provided enough fodder for stories spread over two days on July 29 and 30, 2010.

The interview covered topics like his Arab childhood friends and investors whom he said were the real big spenders, how he made his first million when he was just 20 and his expertise in setting up sovereign wealth funds.

Yes, we were pretty pleased with ourselves for beating the competition in getting Low to speak.

The interview was picked up by other newspapers and portals locally, regionally and internationally.

The Star took efforts to provide Low’s personal details like his age, birthplace, education and languages spoken.

What I also found amusing was that we also gave his height (1.7m) and his weight (88kg), which is not common for such interviews. That was probably our nice way of indicating how chubby he was.

The stories were positive pieces, painting Low as a successful role model. Of course, at that time, no one suspected that he was the mastermind behind the world’s biggest kleptocracy.

We were simply dazzled by his partying playboy high life and accepted in good faith all his claims on why he was successful: he went to the right schools, from Chung Ling to Wharton School of Business, made well-connected, influential friends (especially Arab royals) and got a great financial start.

As The Star reported: “At the age of 20, (he) started an investment company called The Wynton Group with US$25mil (RM103.4mil) from family and South-East Asian and Middle Eastern friends. The investment company in which he owns a stake is now worth in excess of US$1bil (RM4.1bil).”

Penang businessman Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping, a close family friend, described Low as a very bright person who respected his elders.

He was also “an active person, has a corporate brain and his public relations skills are equally good. He’s also quite a fast eater.

“I watched him grow up since he was a kid and I knew he was brilliant, but I never thought he would be so successful,” said Tan.

A reader who was so impressed by the Star exclusive blogged about his son having studied in Harrow in Bangkok and opined: “He (the son) is certainly no Jho Low, but I hope he can learn the positives from Jho’s life and work hard and be successful.”

Well, we now know better how Low operated and whose money he was spending on his celebrity friends and more.

From the man with the Midas touch, he has become the embarrassment no famous person wants to touch. I doubt Hilton or Usher takes his calls anymore. He is a fugitive on the lam, hunted by governments around the globe.

Much as he is furiously claiming innocence, he is indeed our billion-dollar whale. The whale is a metaphor in business, meaning to land large accounts that can transform a small company into a major player.

A whale can also mean a businessman who is close to a country’s regime, is protected by the state and receives government contracts and large bank loans without any collateral, as explained in the book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty.

The maddening fact is this portly plunderer is hard to find. He apparently has multiple passports, including one from St Kitts and Nevis.

It’s very possible he is no longer 88kg. He could be thinner or fatter – depending on whether stress makes him eat even more and faster – or had plastic surgery, grown or lost his hair, but he should still be 1.7m tall, unless he wears hidden heels in his shoes.

Our government has said it is not sure where he’s hiding, but with Malaysians in just about every corner of the world, can we not somehow tap into this vast network? Even a whale must surface for air somehow, somewhere.

What really got my goat was what he glibly said in the Star interview: “Ultimately, I am Malaysian. I am one who does not forget my country and I think there is a lot we can do for Malaysia. But when you build the trust of investors, you need to deliver what you promised.

“For me, we all work very hard. Of course, we have a disadvantage where at our age, people may perceive it differently. At the end of the day, I handle investors’ money prudently. I generate returns for them.”

And this: “I am not an excessive person. Excessiveness with alcohol is just not me.”

No, not in alcohol but his name is now synonymous with excessiveness in luxury acquisitions.

Oh, where’s Capt Ahab when we need him?

Aunty wants to remind all of us that truly, all that glitters is not gold. Feedback to aunty@thestar.com.my

Credit:  June H. L Wong, So aunty, so what?

 

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Get-rich-quick ‘Bitcoin Formula’ exposed: Vincent Tan denies investing US$250m



 

Vincent Tan denies investing US$250m in get-rich-quick ‘Formula’

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corp Bhd founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun (<<pic) has denied investing US$250 million in a project known as “The Formula” which allegedly promises huge profits and quick riches.

Tan said in a statement today said that the ‘The Formula’ is supposedly a share trading platform that allows trades executed through it to beat the stock market with an accuracy of 80% thereby allowing users to make huge profits.

“I refer to a current online media entitled ‘Vincent Tan gives back to the people with his latest project” wherein it is reported that I have invested US$250 million in a project known as “The Formula” with a wish to make Malaysians wealthy.

“I would like to categorically deny that I have made an investment in this project or that I am in any way involved in it and there is absolutely no truth in this report which I believe has been put out by unscrupulous persons to deceive the public,” Tan said.

Tan has reported the matter to the relevant authorities so that appropriate action can be taken and urged the public to take caution on promises of quick riches and not to fall prey to scams.

Tan said this is not the first time his name has been used in similar instances for the purpose of lending credibility to online investment scams.

On June 28 (see below), Tan exposed a dubious startup trading platform called “Bitcoin Formula” which used his name and doctored photos to promote its business.

An article claiming he had invested in and was promoting Bitcoin Formula, together with some photographs, was circulated on social media.

The article was accompanied by a few photographs, one showing Tan allegedly awarding a cheque for RM500,000 to Bitcoin Formula for winning the “Project of the Year” prize in a computer engineering “hackathon” in Kuala Lumpur, and another picture of him apparently speaking about Bitcoin Formula at a social media business summit.

Both pictures were in fact images altered with the use of photo-editing software and had originally been taken by theSun in March 2014 and January last year.

A check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia found that no company by the name of Bitcoin Formula exists.

Credit:  Kevin Deva newsdesk@thesundaily.com

‘Bitcoin Formula’ exposed

 

This picture of Tan Sri Vincent Tan speaking at the Social Economic Forum at the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan in the Philippines was doctored to appear as if he was promoting Bitcoin Formula

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya group founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan has blown the whistle on a dubious startup trading platform called “Bitcoin Formula”, which has used his name and doctored photos to promote its business.

It came to Tan’s attention that an article claiming he had invested in and was promoting Bitcoin Formula, together with some photographs, was being circulated on social media after a friend who saw it asked him if it would indeed be a good investment.

“How can it be a good investment when the operators have to resort to such dishonest ways like using my name in fake reports and doctored photographs to promote their business?” he said.

“I think anyone who invests in such a shady business will surely lose their money,” said Tan, who urged the public not to be deceived by such posts on social media.

The article about the company, that purports to promote blockchain and crypto technologies, claimed Tan had donated RM500,000 to Bitcoin Formula, a supposed financial startup by young computer engineers developing an efficient trading platform.

The article was accompanied by a few photographs, one showing Tan allegedly awarding a cheque for RM500,000 to Bitcoin Formula for winning the “Project of the Year” prize in a computer engineering “hackathon” in Kuala Lumpur, and another picture of him apparently speaking about Bitcoin Formula at a social business summit.

Both pictures were in fact images altered with the use of photo-editing software, and had originally been taken by theSun in March 2014 and January last year.

The cheque presentation photo was actually of Tan presenting a RM500,000 award to representatives of Dharma Master Cheng Yen of the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation after she was named Better Malaysia Foundation’s Personality of the Year in 2015.

The other image was taken when Tan was speaking at the Social Economic Forum that was held at the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan, in the Philippines.

A check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia found that no company by the name of Bitcoin Formula exists.

Tan is apparently the latest prominent person whose name had been used by get-rich-quick scheme operators to scam unsuspecting people, and prominent tycoons like AirAsia founder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and “Sugar King” Robert Kuok were among people whose names have been used by these scammers.

Tan also dismissed a Facebook article claiming that he will be donating RM525 million to Tabung Harapan Malaysia.

“There is absolutely no truth to either of these reports, that I believe have been put out by unscrupulous persons to deceive the public. I hope the public do not get fooled by these fake reports,” he added.


Credit:  Amar Shah Mohsen newsdesk@thesundaily.com

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Vanishing Jobs Growth Spells Deep Trouble for South Korea


 

 
Not-so-nice figures: Moon has seen his popularity slide amid criticism that he’s hurting employment by
aggressively increasing the minimum wage. — AP

Unemployment and jobs growth in South Korea haven’t looked so bad since the wake of the global financial crisis, undermining President Moon Jae-in’s economic agenda.

Data released Wednesday show the unemployment rate jumping to 4.2 percent, the highest since early 2010, and much greater than any economists forecast. Jobs growth slumped to just 3,000 last month, also the worst figure in more than eight years.

Moon, who came into office pledging to create jobs and raise incomes for regular workers, has seen his popularity slide amid criticism that he’s hurting employment by aggressively increasing the minimum wage.

While pay hikes planned for this year and 2019 are here to stay, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said the government would consider adjusting some policies.

He conceded that the jobs market wouldn’t improve much anytime soon.

Disappearing Jobs Growth

  • Number of jobs added: South Korea added just 3,000 jobs in August, the least since 2010

Source: Statistics Korea

Moon’s administration points to the fallout from corporate restructuring and the shrinking working-age population as the source of the problems in the labour market. Businesses counter that hiking the minimum wage 16% this year, with another bump of almost 11% to come next year, has made job layoffs inevitable.

Small business owners in particular, from convenience stores to fast-food franchises, have shed workers.

Adding to the economic unease in South Korea is the risk that US President Donald Trump may hit car exporters with auto tariffs, even after Seoul agreed to renegotiate its trade deal with the US.

Unemployment Spike

South Korea’s unemployment rate in August reached the highest since 2010
  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate
Source: Statistics Korea

South Korean bonds climbed and the won fell after jobs figures, which appeared to squash any near-term prospect of the central bank raising interest rates.

The finance minister said economic policies that are geared toward wage-based growth are moving in the “right direction”. Yet the government also acknowledged the need for more communication and market analysis in order to gain trust from companies and the people, he said.

The presidential office described the recent increase in unemployment as inevitable pain that accompanies a change in the structure of the economy, Yonhap News reported.

Like many other countries, South Korea is experiencing a widening gap between the rich and the poor. It’s confounding policy makers and exacerbating political divisions. — Bloomberg

The Damocles index by Nomura warns of fiscal tension in Malaysia, score accross coountries, the hits and misses 1996~20118


PETALING JAYA: Allowing a larger fiscal deficit and running the risk of a sovereign credit rating downgrade in 2019 could cause balance of payments stress, given Malaysia’s high short-term external debts and low foreign exchange (forex) reserves, said Nomura.

Following the reversal of fiscal reforms like goods and services tax (GST) and the removal of fuel subsidies, the new government now faces the tough choice of either cutting spending at the cost of growth, or allowing a larger fiscal deficit and the risk of a sovereign credit rating downgrade in 2019.

According to a Nomura global research report, Malaysia’s Damocles score in July 2018 was 86.9, below the 100 threshold.

The Damocles index by Nomura summarises macroeconomic and financial variables into a single measure to assess an economy’s vulnerability to a currency crisis.

The oil price slump of 2014 to 2016 was a major shock for Malaysia, one of the few net-oil and gas exporters in Asia.

“While Bank Negara initially expanded forex reserves to defend the ringgit, it eventually allowed a sharp depreciation in 2015 which boosted export competitiveness.

“Malaysia has proved resilient and its current account remained in surplus, benefiting from a diversified economy and fiscal reforms,” said Nomura.

Three countries in the region, namely, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, have a Damocles score of zero, while Vietnam has a moderate Damocles score of 35.

The Bank of Thailand is signalling policy normalisation to build policy space and reduce financial stability risks following a prolonged period of exceptionally low interest rates. This is as headline consumer price index (CPI) inflation returned to within the 1% to 4% inflation target and economy growing at potential.

Thailand’s current account surplus as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has been sizeable since 2015, driven by weak domestic demand and, more recently, growing tourism revenues as well as an export recovery.

“Over this period, forex reserves rose sharply, and they are now at very favourable adequacy levels relative to both imports and short-term external debts.

“The fiscal deficit is expected to widen slightly in 2018, as the government increases spending to support populist policies targeting low-income earners, in the run-up to the election in early 2019,” said Nomura, adding that real interest rates are falling gradually and remain marginally positive, as inflationary pressures have been stubbornly weak.

Over in Indonesia, a negative terms-of-trade shock in 2014 raised the Damocles score in 2014 to 2016, but it has fallen back to zero due to Bank Indonesia’s build-up of forex reserve buffers and government reforms that improved foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.

While depreciation pressures have risen again in 2018, BI has acted decisively with 125 basis points in policy rate hikes to date.

“We expect another 25 basis points, with the risk of more.

“Bank Indonesia maintains a flexible forex regime and a dual-intervention framework in forex and bond markets, as well as introduced macro-prudential measures, like requiring residents to hedge external exposure,” said Nomura.

The research house added that Bank Indonesia has also strengthened policy coordination with the Finance Ministry, which is implementing policies to reduce the current account deficit, while prioritising a credible 2019 budget despite upcoming presidential elections.

Sword of Damocles hangs over Sri Lanka

PETALING JAYA: Sri Lanka is at risk of an exchange rate crisis mainly due to its still-weak fiscal finances and a fragile external position.

Sri Lanka charted the highest Damocles score of 175, among 30 emerging market (EM) economies.

The Damocles index by Nomura summarises macroeconomic and financial variables into a single measure to assess an economy’s vulnerability to a currency crisis.

A score above 100 suggests a country is vulnerable to an exchange rate crisis in the next 12 months, while a reading above 150 signals that a crisis could erupt at any time.

Sri Lanka has large refinancing needs, with foreign exchange (forex) reserves of less than five months of import cover and high short-term external debt of US$ 7.5bil.

“Political stability also remains an issue, as recent resignations have weakened the government (its term ends mid-2020) and despite retaining a simple majority, complicates the task of continuing to implement International Monetary Fund (IMF)-induced reforms.

“However, without IMF support, the risk of a currency crisis would be higher,” said Nomura in its global research report.

Meanwhile, South Africa, Argentina, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine are currently vulnerable to an exchange rate crisis, having Damocles scores of more than 100.

“Based on our definition, Argentina and Turkey are experiencing currency crises, while Argentina, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Ukraine have turned to the IMF for assistance, leaving Pakistan and South Africa as the standouts.

“As investors focus more on risk, it is important not to lump all EMs together as one homogeneous group; Damocles highlights a long list of countries with very low risk of currency crises,” said Nomura.

Eight countries, namely, Brazil, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Peru, Philippines, Russia and Thailand, have Damocles scores of zero.

It is notable that China’s Damocles index has maintained since dropping to 36.9 in late 2017 from 62.4 in October 2017.

The index far below the 100 threshold suggests that the risk of an exchange rate crisis in China is limited.

Nomura concurred that China’s balance of payment position remains healthy, given it has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves at US$3.1 trillion, as of July 2018.

“However, we highlight that its pockets are not as deep as they once were, given that current account deficits at minus 0.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first half of 2018 may occur more frequently, net direct investment inflows may moderate further, and external debt has risen significantly.

“Moreover, we see domestic challenges from weakening aggregate demand and other fundamental problems, and external risks from the escalation in China-US trade tensions and trade protectionism,” said Nomura.

As for India, its Damocles score has fallen to 25 in the third quarter of 2018, from 56 during 2012 to 2013.

India’s most recent currency crisis occurred in 2013 and was due to weak domestic macro fundamentals and worsening external funding conditions. Since then, consumer price index (CPI) inflation has moderated to about 4.5% in 2018 from 9.7% in 2012, as has the current account deficit at an estimated -2.5% of GDP, compared to minus 5% in 2012. Furthermore, India’s central bank has a sufficient forex reserve buffer of 9.3 months of import cover versus 6.4 in 2012.

“However, given India runs a current account deficit, it remains vulnerable to bouts of global risk aversion. Higher oil prices and portfolio outflows are its key external vulnerabilities.

“Aside from these, the key risks stem from the government turning more populist ahead of the 2019 general elections (worsening domestic fundamentals) and a sharper-than-expected domestic growth slowdown (triggering equity outflows),” said Nomura.

The Damocles index comprises eight indicators that are found to be the best predictors of exchange rate crises in the 30-country sample, in which there have been 54 crises since 1996. It includes five single indicators which are import cover, short-term external debt or exports, forex reserves or short-term external debt, broad money or forex reserves and real short-term interest rate.

On the other hand, the three joint indicators are non-foreign direct investment (FDI) gross inflows of one-year and three-year, fiscal and current account, as well as current account and real effective exchange rate deviation. To date, Damocles has correctly signalled 67% of the past 54 crises in Nomura’s sample, including the Asian financial crisis (1997 to 1998), Russian financial crisis (1998) and the 2018 EM currency crises in Argentina and Turkey.

“The advantage of Damocles lies in its objective nature in letting the data speak, not clouded by conventional misperceptions or biases based on past experiences. While the results achieved are encouraging, but given the inherent limitations of any early warning system, it would be foolish to make any exaggerated claims.

“For instance, Brazil’s Damocles score of zero implies very low external vulnerability; yet the Brazilian real (BRL) has depreciated more than 10% in August alone due to an uncertain presidential election outlook,” said Nomura. – The Star

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Tariffs won’t make US firms produce in US


“It would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S. given an expected annual sales volume of fewer than 50,000 units,” automaker Ford Motor Company said in a statement on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump tweeted earlier on Sunday that “‘Ford has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the US because of the prospect of higher US Tariffs.’ CNBC. This is just the beginning. This car can now be built in the USA and Ford will pay no tariffs!” Ford quickly clarified the facts, evidently rebuffing Trump’s tweet.

Likewise, tech giant Apple Inc. wrote a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, saying that a proposed 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports would cover a “wide range of Apple products.”

In another tweet, Trump told Apple to make their products in the US instead of China. Apple hasn’t responded.

According to the US media, the price of iPhone may increase to $2,000 if the company does as told.

The multinational companies that produce automobile and mobile phones have different manufacturing and sales layouts. Car manufacturers tend to produce their products where they are sold, while mobile phone manufacturers optimize their production chain costs worldwide. That’s the natural law of economic globalization which can’t be easily changed by a country’s government.

The White House lacks understanding of the global production and value chains. “Make your products in the United States instead of China” seems naive. Instead of coercing companies to follow demands, imposing tariffs will only scare them off.

Simply making US companies produce in the US can’t deal with the complicated global industry today. We have also learnt from history that neither side will gain in a trade war.

China is the world’s largest automobile and mobile phone market. Setting tariff barriers between Beijing and Washington won’t make US companies give up on China for the sake of their own country. As long as China doesn’t make things hard for US companies, it’s unavoidable that they will place production operations in China. The Chinese market can help them make money, but the White House can’t.

Most American high-tech companies will face difficulties if they leave China. The larger the market is, the higher return the companies will get from their research and development. High-tech companies, if they can’t grow to be giant, don’t usually survive for long, and it would be fatal for many of them to lose the Chinese market.

There hasn’t been a previous US government that dares to instruct multinational companies in production layouts, and the current administration has overestimated its executive power. The global industrial chain today is formed by market rules established over decades and can’t be easily changed by one government.

It would be the White House’s dream to expect that the US is not only the world’s technology and financial center, but also the world’s factory that sells its products globally. If the US doesn’t want to wake up from this dream, then the outside world has to step in and rouse Washington.

Source:Global Times

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1MDB scandal: Cops charge Lows, How Low will Jho go? He proclaims innocence!


‘He helped, among others, bring down a government that had ruled for 61 years, helped
bring criminal charges against a former premier and friend, and catalyzed the return of a 93 year old man to power
… – S. Jayasankaran’
Headline News

 

Cops file charges against the Lows  

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have filed criminal charges against businessman Low Taek Jho and his father for offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 over money allegedly stolen from 1Malay­sia Development Bhd (1MDB).

A source said the charges were filed in absentia by the police with the sanction of the Attorney Gen­eral’s Chambers at the Putrajaya Sessions Court yesterday morning.

According to the charge sheets made available to The Star, Low – also known as Jho Low – is facing eight counolice have filed criminal charges against businessman Low Taek Jho and his father for offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 over money allegedly stolen from 1Malay­sia Development Bhd (1MDB).A source said the charges were fts of money laundering.

In the first, second and third charges, the 37-year-old allegedly received US$261,449,960 from unlawful activities into his BSI Bank Limited account.

In the fourth to eighth charges, he allegedly transferred €41,100,073.22 and US$140,636,225.10 into the account of World View Limited, Caymans Island, in Caledonian Bank Limited, Caymans Island.

The offences were allegedly committed at BSI Bank Limited, No.7, Temasek Boulevard, #32-01 Suntec Tower One, Singapore, between Dec 26, 2013, and June 3, 2014.

Jho Low’s father Tan Sri Low Hock Peng, 66, also faces a charge of money laundering where he allegedly transferred monies from unlawful activity amounting to US$56,449,980 from his bank account into his son’s BSI Bank Limited account.

He allegedly committed the offence at the same BSI Bank Limited on Feb 4, 2014.

All the charges were under Section 4(1)(a) of the Act, which carries a fine up to RM5mil, imprisonment for a term up to five years, or both, upon conviction.

The source said police also applied for warrants of arrest for Jho Low and his father.

The source said a portion of the money was used to purchase the luxury yacht Equanimity, which was seized by Malaysia two weeks ago.

Under Section 401 of the Criminal Procedure Code, an absent person with no immediate prospect of arrest may be tried by the court for an offence in his absence.

In a related development, Inspec­tor-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the new charges enabled the Royal Malaysia Police to obtain new warrants of arrest for Jho Low and his father.

“From there, we will ask Interpol to issue a fresh Red Notice alert on the duo. The Red Notice will seek the cooperation of relevant countries in tracking down the wanted persons,” he told The Star.

The Red Notice will also expedite the extradition process, which will be handled by the Attorney General’s Chambers, and to bring the duo back to Malaysia, he said.

“Our priority has always been to track them down and detain them as soon as possible,” he added.

Based on the charge sheets seen by The Star, journalists visited Jho Low’s family home in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, but no one appeared to be home.- The Star.

 Statement by Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd

Despite being owners of the yacht in question, Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. has received no legally valid notice of any filing related to a Sale Pendente Lite, nor any notice of a pending court hearing in the matter. This would be a requirement under law.

We also note that there are ongoing proceedings before U.S. courts – including a U.S. appellate court – regarding the ownership and custody of the asset, with active requests filed before a U.S. judge within the past 24 hours. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Justice submitted a filing in the U.S. court less than one week ago. For Malaysia to act unilaterally while there are pending court requests in the U.S. would be an affront to the international rule of law. In fact, Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel is already contrary to a U.S. court order appointing the U.S. Government as custodian of the yacht.

The U.S. has previously stated that it had no advance knowledge of Malaysia’s seizure of the yacht, and presumably the U.S. had no advance notice of this current Malaysian action either. It is important to note that, despite conflicting statements coming out of the Malaysian government, the U.S. has not proven its case regarding the Equanimity. The U.S. has only filed unproven allegations in court proceedings, after which the U.S. put the entire case on hold over Claimants’ objections. The result of that is that no party has been able to substantively respond to the allegations, and nor has the U.S. been required to prove them.

In addition, it is indisputably clear that Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel and apparent intent to immediately sell it goes entirely against the interests of the yacht and will drastically reduce – indeed, it is already drastically reducing – its potential sale value. Due to the Malaysian government’s precipitous, ill-conceived, and misguided actions, the yacht is running 24 hours per day, 7 days a week on generator power, which is unsustainable and harmful to the vessel. Moreover, Malaysia has currently docked the yacht in a hazardous environment in which toxins such as water pollution and nearby smoke are greatly damaging it. Because Malaysia apparently does not have – or does not want to spend – the necessary funds to properly maintain the vessel while it is prepared for a value-maximizing sale, Malaysia has instead proposed a “fire sale,” in which the yacht is to be sold for a fraction of its true value.

To move for a sale in Malaysia immediately would be a remarkable violation of due process and international legal comity and would call into question the actual ownership of the yacht for any potential buyer. These misguided actions would create a cloud on the Equanimity’s ownership that could easily take years to resolve in several courts around the world.

Tsuey Shan Ho

Account Manager
cid:image001.png@01D37B19.DFA09BC0Tel +44 (0)20 7092 3992

 

How Low will Jho go?

Superyacht: A file picture showing seized
luxury yacht Equanimity being brought to the Boustead Cruise Terminal in
Port Klang on Aug 7. — Reuters

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a railcar but a man who has gone to a university may steal the entire railroad

–- former US President Theodore Roosevelt

FUGITIVE businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, 38, has described Malaysia’s legal proceedings to quickly sell the Equanimity superyacht as a vindictive “sham”.

According to the rotund reprobate, it was a sham because the boat’s ownership was also being contested in the courts of the United States so the ‘hasty” Malaysian admiralty hearing was, at best, iffy.

But what the corpulent conman seemed not to want to concede was that both governments agreed – unequivocally, unarguably and emphatically – that the yacht was not his to roam the oceans with.

They both agreed that the RM1bil boat was bought with monies that were skimmed out of a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Our man Jho has since been keeping a low profile, so low that no one seems to know where the fat fugitive is.

You might say he was distracted: the bulging bandit even left a multi-million dollar private jet back in Singapore and he hadn’t even complained, once, of the uncivil way the authorities just left it out in the sun for over nine months!

In this case, however, the pudgy pirate brought forth his spokespeople to complain about the way the yacht was kept “under the sun” in polluted waters, and with its batteries running 24/7. In short, it was not being treated as a superyacht should have been.

He should be consistent and set forth similar arguments about his private jet. Did I forget to mention that Singapore issued a warrant of arrest for him way back when?

In fairness to our man Jho, he has maintained that he has not stolen anything at all and all the money was his family’s inheritance to begin with.

The problem with that is that at least three countries – the US, Malaysia and Singapore – disagree with its reasoning. Another problem would be his absence from places where people want to ask him hard questions.

It is said that a fool and his money are soon parted. But Fat Boy and Other People’s Money was soon partying and the money seemed endless.

Mario Puzo, the author of the Godfather, put it like this: “A lawyer with a briefcase can steal millions more than a hundred men with guns.”

Let’s face it. He lived, what the Eagles called, Life in the Fast Lane.

He had a private jet and a superyacht.

He had palatial homes all over the world.

He dated Hollywood actresses.

He helped bankroll a Hollywood blockbuster.

He helped bring down a government that had ruled for 61 years, helped bring criminal charges against a former premier and friend, and catalysed the return of a 93 year old man to power.

He may have had more citizenships than Caesar.

And – wonder of wonders – he had no official position in 1 Malaysia Development Bhd. His name must surely resonate in future history books.

Breaking news! Just got word that Fat Boy and his father have been charged by the Attorney General’s Chambers for money laundering offences involving RM1bil, funds that were allegedly used to buy the yacht.

This will make Malaysia the first country to charge our man Jho. Not bad for an Attorney General who was said to “know nothing” of criminal law.

Now we know why they say money launderers are filthy rich.

What will the dodgy deviant say now?

Catch me if you can?

By S. Jayasankaran

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PM: Understand Malaysia’s fiscal woes


hhttps://youtu.be/Kb266n1yH8M

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Wow! China’s most impressive Guard of Honour for Tun Mahathier

 

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad has appealed to China for its understanding on Malaysia’s fiscal woes, as uncertainty hovers over the China-backed infrastructure projects back home.

The Prime Minister, who is on a five-day visit to China, also hoped Beijing could lend a helping hand to solve the problems plaguing Putrajaya.

“We hope to get China to understand the problem faced by Malaysia today and believe it would look sympathetically towards the problem we need to resolve.

“And perhaps help us resolve some of our internal fiscal problems,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was speaking at a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People here yesterday, following the official welcoming ceremony and a closed-door meeting.

While Dr Mahathir had stopped short of specifying the problem, the Pakatan Harapan government had said that the country’s debt is now above RM1 trillion.

The new administration was also critical of the “lopsided” deals with China and moved to suspend projects with Chinese investment, such as the East Coast Rail Link, the Multi-Product Pipeline and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline.

During this visit, Dr Mahathir had stressed that Malaysia was not against any Chinese firms and that he welcomed Chinese businessmen to invest in Malaysia.

At the press conference, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia had much to gain from China and believes that Chinese investment could bring down the unemployment rate in the country.

“Malaysia has a policy of being friendly to every country in the world irrespective of its ideology. This is because we need to have a market for our produce,” he said while expressing hope that Malaysia would become a South-East Asian hub for new technology being developed in China.

“China has great entrepreneurs with innovative ideas in doing business that Malaysians can learn from.

“China has got a lot that will be beneficial to us. It is a big and rich market created by very dynamic people,” he said.

Asked about his views on the trade war between China and the United States, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would support free and fair trade.

He said he did not want to see this trade war becoming a new form of colonialism.

Dr Mahathir’s trip, which ends today, is his first official visit to China since his return to helm the country.

Ministers joining him on the trip are Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, International Trade and Industry Minister Ignatius Darell Leiking, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong and Entrepreneurial Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir also had a closed-door meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday evening at the Diaoyutai State Guest House.

Accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, he later attended a dinner hosted by Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan.

Bernama reported that Dr Mahathir gave the assurance to Xi that there would be no changes in policy towards under the new Malaysian government.

He told Xi that he was impressed with the level of development achieved by China.

“We see China as a model for development,” he said.

Credit: Beh Yuen Hui The Star

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