Jho Low by Sonny Liew


Tom Wright

On Dec. 22, 2014, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stood in a Chanel store in Honolulu, a $130,000 watch in his hand, a birthday present for his wife. But Najib’s credit cards weren’t  working. He tapped out an urgent message on his Blackberry.

“My platinum cards are not going through Jho,” Najib wrote. A few minutes later, Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman who is charged in the U.S. and Malaysia with overseeing one of the largest frauds in history, managed to get the payment approved.

The Chanel watch – Blackberry messages between Jho Low and a banker. 

The Chanel watch was paid for with money stolen from 1MDB, a Malaysian government fund, set up by Najib in 2009, purportedly to develop the nation’s economy, according to documents filed in Najib’s criminal trial for corruption.

On Tuesday, Malaysia’s Federal Court, the nation’s highest judicial body, sent Najib to jail for 12 years for his role in the plundering of 1MDB, making him the first prime minister in the nation’s history to be incarcerated.

The Malaysian people want justice, and putting Najib behind bars is a good start. But the job is half finished until Jho Low, the central character in this stunning tale of greed and larceny, is reeled in.

But China is standing in the way.

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