United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently investigating if fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low is currently using laundered money to fund a US legal team. According to The Wallstreet Journal (WSJ) report, the legal team includes former New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie and a Lawyer who represents President Trump. Malaysian Authorities have charged Jho Low and his father earlier this week under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.
According to the WSJ, the team of lawyers and consultants working for Jho Low includes Christie, who briefly headed Donald Trump, President of the United States, presidential transition team; Trump’s longtime lawyer Marc Kasowitz; Bobby Burchfield, a lawyer who has served as Trump Organization’s outside ethics adviser; and Ed Rogers, a Washington lobbyist with close ties to the Republican Party.
However, the question remains, of how is Jho Low able to fund his legal team albeit having his access to global financial system sharply curtailed by banks wary of handling allegedly tainted funds. This has made it difficult for him to pay directly for a range outlays, from lifestyle expenses to legal and advisory services, WJS reported.
Currently DOJ is investigating whether two intermediaries, a Thai businessman, Phengphian Laogumnerd, and American former rap artist Pras Michel, played roles in helping Jho Low make payments, WSJ reports. Jho Low seem to have relied on Phengphian to pay for his accomodation expenses in Hong Kong and Macau, legal and advisory bills and to keep superyacht, the Equanimity fully staffed and maintained until it was seized by Indonesian authorities.
Jho Low is under probe by the DOJ for allegedly embezzling $4.5 billion from Malaysian fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB). In 2016 and 2017, the DOJ has filed civil lawsuits in federal court in California seeking to recover assets from Jho Low and others which were allegedly bought with 1MDB funds. Among the assets are mansions, artworks and superyacht, the Equanimity. 1MDB case may be one of the biggest financial frauds in history, which is warranting a global corruption probe. Multiple bankers, banks and companies across the globe are under investigations, including BSI Singapore and Falcon banks being closed for being involved in the transfer of monies.