A historic deal has been reached between the Malaysian former financier Jho Low and the United States Department of Justice which is bound to have reverberating consequences for the international community.
The settlement comes on the backdrop of months of cooperation and good faith negotiations between Low and the US Government. Following the deal, Mr. Low issued the statement:
“I am very pleased to confirm that a landmark comprehensive, global settlement has been reached with the United States government, which fully and forever resolves in their entirety each of the U.S. government’s civil, criminal, and administrative actions or proceedings relating to the defendant assets at issue in the Central District of California”
The deal also concluded in Low aiding in recovering nearly $1 billion worth of assets that were lost during the 1MDB scandal. The corruption scandal saw billions siphoned from a Malaysian government state funds into private accounts including that of the former prime minister Najib Razak. It has been widely recognised that this settlement is not an admonishing of Low’s guilt in any way.
Things seem to be looking up for Low on all sides, not only has he been absolved of guilt in the United States, but he is reportedly residing in the United Arab Emirates and has obtained asylum in a number of other countries on the basis of human rights and political persecution.
According to Low’s spokesperson, he has also been spending time in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries where he has “close relations with royal families”.
These latest developments are also greatly beneficial for Malaysia as the US is bound to repatriate a large sum of the funds from this deal back to Malaysia. As a country facing debt and a fragile economy, this would be highly valuable.
It has also come to light that the deal came after months of open discussions and participation between Low and the US Department of Justice. The results of these discussions are likely to provide useful information that will aid the US in reaching a settlement with Goldman Sachs, the other main player in the 1MDB scandal. A portion of these sums too will be repatriated to Malaysia.
What remains is to see how the Malaysian government will react to these developments. On one hand, reports are surfacing that many Malaysians feel as though real justice is not being served. On the other hand, it is an objectively positive deal for Malaysia not only due to the repatriation of lost funds, but with Low’s open communication, the Najib Razak trial may finally be put to bed and the country will be able to put 1MDB behind them.