Jho Low using multiple passports to evade detection: Source
The fugitive financier is reportedly using passports from investment-based citizenship schemes to travel the globe
KUALA LUMPUR: Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, is believed to be using multiple Mediterranean and Caribbean island nations passports to criss-cross the globe.
A source said Low continues to make Macau his base but travelled to the Middle East and European countries using the different passports.
"Jho Low has secured a few different types of passports in the last eight years, mainly through investment-based citizenship schemes as part of a grand scheme when he was involved in the Malaysian state-owned investment fund, 1MDB, scandal."
His first known investment-based citizenship passport was from Saint Kitts and Nevis, a tiny Caribbean island nation in the West Indies.
Although the passport was issued in 2011, the country revoked his citizenship last year following full-scale international investigations into the scandal of 1MDB, or 1Malaysia Development Berhad, in at least six countries.
In 2015, Low also obtained a Cypriot passport besides a Maltese passport.
Said the source: "These passports allowed him visa-free travel to European countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy and over 170 countries globally."
The source added that Low is believed to have obtained the Maltese passport through an investment-based citizenship scheme.
Low had no problem making multi-million-dollar property investments in exchange for these passports.
Also, he could fly in private jets and evade detection by going through temporary immigration posts at private VIP lounges where he could easily get his travelling documents endorsed, said the source.
"In some places, like the Middle East and several European countries, where these posts are handled by immigrant agents, Jho Low was not required to be present with his passport."
The source added that the posts at these private VIP lounges were not equipped with a sophisticated biometric scanner or linked to the main servers to conduct thorough checks.
"With his rich lifestyle, visa-free passports and connections with wealthy and influential personalities and royalty in Middle Eastern and European countries, he was able to move freely, evading arrest and surveillance," said the source.
In a separate development, Malaysia said it is working to locate at least RM18 billion (S$5.9 billion) in assets that have yet to be accounted for in the global money-laundering probe, its anti-corruption chief said yesterday.
The United States authorities say US$4.5 billion (S$6.1 billion) was siphoned from 1MDB but Malaysian officials say much more was stolen.
The US struck a deal last week to recover US$700 million more from Low.
But about RM18 billion (S$5.9 billion) in assets remain unidentified and Malaysia is working with at least five countries to recover the amount, head of Malaysia's Anti-Corruption Commission Latheefa Koya told reporters. - THE STAR, REUTERS
Parts of this article have been altered for clarity