The potential silver lining in the Jho Low-DOJ settlement

Adam Tan


LETTER | It comes as no surprise that the news regarding the deal between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Jho Low may not sit very well with my fellow Malaysians. 

Here we are, rallying our chief of police to find Low and bring him to justice, when on the other side of the world is seems charges against the former financier are being dropped one by one.

The frustration is more than understandable, but I wish to pose a different approach - it could very well be that this settlement is equally beneficial to Malaysia as it is to all other parties involved.

It states in the court filing that the entire US Department of Justice Criminal Division is bound by this settlement of "civil, criminal and administrative asset forfeiture actions or proceedings" relating to the allegations against Low and in return the US government recovers almost $1 billion in assets. In addition, the settlement does not constitute any admission of guilt by either Low or his family.

How is this deal in any way beneficial to Malaysia, you may ask.

For one, there is no doubt that the hundreds of millions of dollars received in this deal will be repatriated to Malaysia. These funds are crucial to the recovery of the Malaysian economy and to rebuilding from the mess left following the 1MDB scandal.

It has also come to light that the deal came after months of open discussions and participation between Low and the DOJ. This is bound to result in useful information that will aid the US in reaching a settlement with Goldman Sachs, the other main player in the 1MDB scandal. The result is the further repatriation of stolen funds back to Malaysia.

The emergence of Low’s willingness to cooperate may also be a huge steppingstone to winding up the complex Najib Abdul Razak trial and sentencing him once and for all. A trial which has already taken up far too much time and energy for the country.

What about the Malaysian government’s continuous efforts to bring Low back to face his own trial?

Well, Low’s spokesperson has confirmed that the former fugitive has been granted asylum in the UAE and another country and that he has been moving freely between the Middle East and Europe since early as June.

Does it make sense for our government and police to continue wasting precious time and resources hunting down Low? As hard as it seems, maybe the time has come for Malaysia to accept the decision of the US and the UAE and look forward to ending this saga. 

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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