US authorities list Jho Low’s Bird Streets spec mansion amid 1MDB scandal

Prosecutors say he used stolen funds to buy the $39M estate

May.May 06, 2019 01:00 PM
Jho Low and 1423 Oriole Drive (Credit: Getty Images and The Pinnacle List)
Jho Low and 1423 Oriole Drive (Credit: Getty Images and The Pinnacle List)

The Malaysian government sold off Jho Low’s superyacht last month, and now U.S. prosecutors are hoping to recover additional millions from the sale of his Los Angeles spec mansion.

Low, who faces money laundering charges in Malaysia for his alleged central role in the $4.5 billion theft of 1MDB, remains at-large. Malaysia ordered the arrest of the financier — whose real name is Low Taek Jho — last June. He denies all charges.

His $39 million Bird Streets mansion — which U.S. authorities claim was purchased with stolen funds from the scandal — remains vacant. Now it’s on the market, according to Bloomberg.

Low broke a record in the exclusive neighborhood when he bought the sprawling spec home in 2012, setting the stage for what would become a spec home boom.

Located at 1423 Oriole Drive, the property was one of developer Nile Niami’s earlier spec homes in the area. The 13,000-square-foot mansion was designed by Paul McClean, and replaced actor Ricardo Montalban’s former residence on the site.

The home on 1.2 acres features six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, as well as a media room, wine cellar, gym, swimming pool and guest house.

According to a recent court filing, the empty mansion is costing $690,000 per year in taxes, insurance and maintenance. It’s also sinking deeper into disrepair, Bloomberg reported.

The sale is needed because “the expense of keeping the property is excessive and/or is disproportionate to its fair market value”, U.S. prosecutors and the property’s holding company said in the filing.

Prosecutors say Low used stolen money to purchase the mansion, as well as a stake in Steve Witkoff’s Park Lane Hotel and a penthouse at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. Officials are also trying to seize Low’s stake in EMI Music Publishing.

The most recent filing stands in contrast to an earlier attempt to seize Low’s assets. In September 2017, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted the U.S. government’s request to hold off on seizing any assets on the grounds that it would interfere with a larger probe into 1MDB.

Authorities in Malaysia, meanwhile, sold off Low’s super yacht last month for $126 million.

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