Malaysia seeks arrest of financier Jho Low in 1MDB scandal

Investigation has ensnared Steve Witkoff’s Park Lane Hotel

Jho Low and the Park Lane (Credit: Getty Images)
Jho Low and the Park Lane (Credit: Getty Images)

Malaysia has ordered the arrest of notorious financier Jho Low. But whether this will actually lead to his arrest is still up for debate.

Low is allegedly the brains behind one of the biggest financial scandals in recent memory, and he is now officially a fugitive, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The U.S. Department of Justice has accused him of masterminding a fraud encompassing the 1Malaysia Development Bhd state investment fund, which had at least $4.5 billion taken from its accounts between 2009 and 2015.

Authorities in Singapore issued a notice for Low’s arrest through Interpol in 2016, but he simply kept traveling between Thailand and China. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad won national elections in the country last month and promised to get to the bottom of the scandal.

He said on Friday that Malaysian authorities have a good idea of where Low is, and the arrest warrant was issued over his alleged role in fraud at the 1MDB fund.

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However, Low is currently believed to be in a country that does not have an extradition treaty with Malaysia, which could make carrying out the arrest difficult.

In September, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted the U.S. government’s request to hold off on seizing assets allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB. Steve Witkoff’s Park Lane Hotel has been got up in the scandal, as Low invested in the hotel and a $30 million penthouse at the Time Warner Center.

The Department of Justice and Witkoff put the Park Lane up for sale last year. [WSJ]  – Eddie Small