Malaysian financier denies planning the 1MDB graft scandal

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian financial fugitive at the center of a billionaire corruption scandal insisted that he had not led the looting of the fund, a report said Monday.

Low Taek Jho, commonly known as, has been accused of Malaysia and the United States for allegedly playing an important role in stealing billions of dollars from the sovereign wealth fund.

The looted money was used to buy everything from a superyacht to art, in a fraud that supposedly involved the former leader Najib Razak and contributed to the fall of his government in 2018.

In a rare interview, Low told the Straits Times newspaper in Singapore that he was an intermediary who was wanted because of his good relations with businessmen and influential foreign decision makers.

The idea that I am a kind of 'mastermind' is simply wrong, said the financier, who acted as an unofficial advisor to 1MDB.

The 38-year-old man, who constantly denies having acted badly over the scandal, said several institutions, bankers and lawyers had also worked with the fund, in replies sent by email to the newspaper.

The excessive amount of media scrutiny about me compared to that placed in global financial institutions and other institutions and advisors that actually organized and facilitated the fundraising in question is staggering, he said.

The reality is that I am an easy target.

Malaysia has charged Goldman sachs and some current and former employees on the role of the bank in organizing bond issues for 1MDB, and the authorities claim that large sums were misappropriated.

The bank has promised to fight the charges.

Najib has been tried for the scandal since he lost power, and a key part of his defense is that Low planned the fraud and was unaware of what was happening.

Low refused to be attracted to his current whereabouts. It is reported that it is found in places ranging from the United Arab Emirates to China.

In October, it reached an agreement with US authorities to lose assets worth $ 700 million, including a Beverly Hills hotel and a private jet, as part of efforts to recover stolen cash.