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1MDB: Malaysia's Jho Low hits out at Singapore

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Malaysian businessman Low hits out at Singapore after being described as 'a key person of interest' in 1MDB investigation

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho hit out at Singapore yesterday, after the Republic's prosecutors said he had victimised beleaguered Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and received large sums of money traceable to the fund for his own benefit.

Mr Low, in a statement, said attempts to link him to recently convicted individuals over pocketing "secret profits" linked to 1MDB were "based on unfounded assumptions".

On Wednesday, former BSI Singapore banker Yeo Jiawei, 34, was jailed for 4½ years for cheating and money laundering. The sentence is the most severe meted out in the probe into the alleged misappropriation of billions of dollars from 1MDB and comes as the Monetary Authority of Singapore wraps up a two-year investigation on flows linked to 1MDB.

It had emerged in court that Yeo referred to Mr Low as "boss" and spent at least one night at his house.

Mr Low, known as Jho Low, was described by Singapore prosecutors as "a key person of interest" in the wider ongoing money-laundering probe.

Funds 1MDB raised for development projects were used to pay for luxury real estate, art, parties and more, according to US and Swiss investigations.

The US Department of Justice said last month that US$4.5 billion (S$6.2 billion) belonging to 1MDB was diverted by fund officials and their associates.

Yeo's two charges relate to transactions aimed at covering up the transfer of US$1 billion belonging to 1MDB to a bank account Mr Low beneficially owned.

Mr Low's whereabouts are not known. Reuters reported that a US-based public relations firm issued the statement on his behalf, in reply to a request for comment.

"Any attempts to link Mr Low to the recent guilty pleas by parties allegedly making secret profits are based on unfounded assumptions," said Boston-based Rasky Partners, as quoted by Reuters.

The statement said these claims were part of a "politically motivated act and selectively chosen narrative alleging 1MDB as a 'victim'", when the Malaysian authorities have stated there has been no misappropriation of 1MDB funds.

Said the statement: "No wrongdoing has been proved in any jurisdiction relating to the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB funds... Mr Low is confident that any impartial party presented with the complete facts will see that the allegations are flawed, biased and create an inaccurate picture."