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Jho Low rubbishes report China offered to bail 1MDB out
09 January 2019, 11:40 | Darnell Patrick
Malaysia to scrutinise China contracts after report of inflated deals struck to cover 1MDB debt
The Wall Street Journal has a bombshell story (paywall) about China's overseas influence, based on recently uncovered meeting minutes of the previous Malaysian government led by Najib Razak, and interviews with "people in position to know the events, among them a former official of Mr. Najib's government".
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, in its review of the minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings, had reported that senior Chinese leaders had offered in 2016 to help bail out a Malaysian government fund in return for lucrative stakes in railway and pipeline projects under its "One Belt, One Road" programme of building infrastructure overseas.
Slamming the report, Low said it was journalistic responsibility of the WSJ to have approached such claims with scepticism and suspicion, and that it was unfortunate that these baseless political accusations were passed off as legitimate reporting. The incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had replaced the now because of money laundering, the defendant's Ex-head of government Najib in may 2018, withdrew the contract for the projects. Beijing has offered to check on the houses of Wall Street Journal reporters in Hong Kong who were investigating the 1MDB case and find out their source of information.
"China has all along adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of any other country".
Since coming to power in May, Mahathir's government has accused the Najib administration of inflating the cost of Chinese deals.
1MDB is at the center of a global scandal involving claims of embezzlement and money laundering, with jurisdictions from the U.S., Malaysia and Singapore probing cases related to the fund. Najib has been charged with dozens of counts of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving 1MDB-related monies.
Mahathir's finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would study the allegations made in the Journal report.
Najib negotiator on the Chinese side offered accordingly, in 2016 the contract for the construction of Pipelines, Railways and other infrastructure projects in Malaysia, China wanted to achieve in the context of its new silk road. "I have to refer back to any details explicitly said". He pleaded not guilty and has consistently denied wrongdoing.
He has been detained in Kuala Lumpur since last Nov 1, shortly after the US Department of Justice announced charges against him, another Goldman Sachs official Tim Leissner, and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho over the alleged theft of billions of dollars from 1MDB.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he had not heard about the report, adding: "China and Malaysia are working together on specific projects and both countries have maintained very good and friendly relations".
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