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Catch me if you can: Jho Low must be nabbed with international collaboration

  • If Osama and Baghdadi could not get away, there is no way Jho Low can escape the fullest brunt of the law. The IGP just has to activate an international team of tenacious investigators to work in a transboundary context.

By Dr Rais Hussin

In the Hollywood movie, "Catch Me If You Can", Leonardo Di Caprio was always giving the authorities the slip. The same seems to be happening to Low Taek Jho, otherwise infamously known as Jho Low.

The Inspector-General of Police of Malaysia, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, in his own candour, has affirmed that Jho Low has been avoiding the dragnet of the laws of Malaysia too; in complicity with some countries that have sought to shield and shelter him.

Whether genuine or not, Cyprus seems to be looking into the conditions that allowed Jho Low to seek a second passport. Potentially, Cyprus might revoke his passport.

The problem in nabbing Jho Low does not rest on the 1MDB culprit -- not mastermind, as the key architect of 1MDB fiasco is allegedly former Prime Minister Najib Razak -- relinquishing more and more of all his passports.

After all, places like St Kitts's, British Virgin Islands, even offshore entities like Tortolla, can each pander to the whims of Jho Low to provide him a new, and newer passport.

The key to catching Jho Low lies in the eagerness of him to strike a deal with the US Department of Justice; as the US is where Jho Low received his BA education at Georgetown University, a bastion that is traditionally the favourite academic haunting ground of Arab VIP students.

The Inspector-General of Police of Malaysia has to renew his effort not merely to work with Interpol, or even Scotland Yard in the United Kingdom, but the US Department of Justice.

The US Department of Justice, believe it or not, enjoys huge amount of latitude and leeway from President Donald J Trump, specifically the White House.

Even if Jho Low can make a huge financial contribution to the campaign coffer of President Donald Trump, or potentially leading Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, there is no way they will accept Jho Low's financial overtures -- especially when Jho Low himself has become a hot target of civil and criminal litigation.

The Inspector-General of Police Hamid Bador is correct to want to bring Jho Low to book. But granted the fact that Jho Low has more than one passport, the key to squeezing Jho Low financially, and globally, leans on how the Malaysian Inspector-General of Police is working hand-in-hand with US Department of Justice to block all SWIFT transactions, with its headquarters in Brussels, to corner the proverbial rat.

The leads Jho Low, through his nominees can lock into the Swift banking system to move what remains of his billions around, the more Jho Low will feel the leash tightening. In more ways than one, the Attorney-General in Switzerland has been very helpful to uncover the financial shenanigans of Jho Low over the past few years. What Malaysia needs to do is to work closely with the US Department of Justice, and concurrently Interpol, Scotland Yard, even the Ministry of Public Security in China, in case Jho Low remains in Macao or mainland China.

If Osama bin Laden could not get away with his murderous sprees, neither did Baghdadi, the head of Islamic State or ISIS recently, there is no way Jho Low can escape the fullest brunt of the law. The Inspector-General of Police of Malaysia just has to activate an international team of tenacious investigators to work in a transboundary context.

Jho Low must be caught, without which the billions of USD with which he and his family, together with allegedly ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak, has siphoned will set hidden in various off short financial accounts.

(Datuk Wira Dr. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff is PPBM Supreme Council Member.)

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