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Fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low still involved in affairs of his Hong Kong companies

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 22/7/2018 Karen Zhang
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Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho has been actively involved in the affairs of his two Hong Kong-registered companies even with Malaysian authorities in hot pursuit of him across several countries, the Post has learned.

Meanwhile, his business associate Seet Li Lin, said to be a Singaporean from media reports, is living in Hong Kong and is connected to a Shanghai consulting firm owned by one of 37-year-old Low’s companies.

Jho Low, as he is widely known, is a key figure in an international money laundering investigation related to an alleged US$4.5 billion (HK$35.1 billion) misappropriated from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested on July 3 for his alleged role in what has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in Malaysian history, with reports saying some US$700 million of 1MDB funds had flowed to his personal accounts, to fund his and his wife’s lavish lifestyle.

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Low, who branded himself a global investor and philanthropist, is listed as the CEO of private equity firm Jynwel Capital and director of non-profit Jynwel Charitable Foundation, both based in Hong Kong.

Documents from the city’s Companies Registry show that on July 9, Low signed two documents to change both firms’ company secretary from B & Mck Nominees to KV Pro Services in Mong Kok.

It is not known if he was in Hong Kong when he signed the documents but the registry said that a signatory would not need to be in the city to ink the papers.

B & Mck is a subsidiary of the US law firm Baker McKenzie. A spokesman from the law firm confirmed it had ceased to work for Low’s firms but declined to give the reason.

On June 26, Jho Low’s younger brother Low Taek Szen, who is also managing director of Jynwel Capital as described in its promotional video, signed documents applying to the Hong Kong Companies Registry to have its name changed to Quinton Investments and for the non-profit to be called Quantima Charitable Foundation.

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Jynwel Capital, which has a swanky office in Central, did not reply to the Post’s phone and email queries about Jho Low’s whereabouts. On its website on Sunday, there was no information on the company and only a message saying the page was “undergoing major reconstruction”.

A source familiar with the operations of the Shanghai-based business consulting firm owned by Jynwel Capital said it had three staffers from Malaysia and Hong Kong and registered capital of US$3.3 million.

The source, who spoke to the Post on condition of anonymity, said Jynwel recently tried to shut down the company, which was set up two years ago and based at Shanghai World Financial Center.

Seet is listed as a supervisor of the consulting firm, and Low as a director, according to mainland China’s companies registry. The supervisor must inspect the company’s finances and oversee how directors carry out their duties.

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Low is wanted by law enforcement authorities in several countries and an Interpol red notice on him has been issued since 2016. There is no news of Seet being a wanted man.

Seet reportedly attended Wharton Business School with Low. He worked for Jynwel Capital from November 2012 to April 2017 on deals related to securities, according to Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission. Previous media reports said he described himself as a vice-president of Jynwel from 2011 to 2015 on professional networking site LinkedIn.

He has a Hong Kong identity card and co-owns a luxury flat located above Kowloon Station which he and his wife bought in 2015 for HK$22 million, according to Land Registry documents.

The Post visited Seet’s home on Saturday and his wife confirmed he was still in the city. She declined to answer any other questions.

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According to a 251-page document filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in June 2017, Seet was chief investment officer of Good Star, a Seychelles-registered company ultimately owned by Jho Low, which received US$700 million of fraudulently diverted funds from 1MDB for a joint venture project with PetroSaudi, a Saudi Arabian oil company.

Seet was reported to have posted on Facebook saying, “I feel the earth moved under my feet,” after the amount was remitted in November 2009. Apart from that, Seet was named by the DOJ as having signed for transactions of other deals related to Jho Low’s businesses.

The Post reported previously that Jho Low stayed in Hong Kong with his family in luxury flats in Hong Kong’s upscale Pacific Place development and was believed to have left for Macau in early July. A mainland Chinese official subsequently rejected reports that he had fled across the border.

His Malaysian passport was cancelled on June 15, according to police there.

Both Jho Low and his brother have Hong Kong identity cards. Jho Low also holds a passport from the small Caribbean island nation of St Kitts and Nevis, according to the Malaysian government.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. For more SCMP stories, please download our mobile app, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

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