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Bloomberg: HK declined S'pore request to arrest Jho Low in 2016

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Hong Kong authorities had turned down a request from their Singapore counterpart to arrest businessperson Low Taek Jho for alleged money laundering and dealing with stolen property in connection to the 1MDB scandal two years ago, reported Bloomberg.

The report quoted a Singapore police spokesperson saying this, in disputing claims that Singapore had not sought help for the 37-year-old Penang-born millionaire to be apprehended.

According to the spokesperson, the request was sent to the Hong Kong Department of Justice in April 2016, under an agreement for the surrender of fugitive offenders between both territories.

"Singapore's request was declined by the Hong Kong authorities," the spokesperson told Bloomberg, without elaborating the reason for denial.

According to the spokesperson, the Singapore police issued a warrant of arrest for Low, who is better known as Jho Low, in April 2016, following probe and charges against him for money-laundering and receiving stolen property, and remains a key person of interest to the country in 1MDB-related investigations.

Interpol published a red notice for Low in the same year, at Singapore's request, and both the Singapore arrest warrant and the red notice are still in force.

The Hong Kong Department of Justice told Bloomberg that it does not comment on individual cases, while Low's representative did not immediately reply to an email for comment.

Earlier today, the South China Morning Post reported that Low is believed to have fled Macau either by car or private jet.

“It is almost, without doubt, safe to say that Low is now on the mainland. In fact, that is probably one of the reasons he came to Macau in the first place," a security source was quoted as saying.

Malaysia has an extradition treaty with China.

Malaysian police had been closing in on Low in Hong Kong when he fled to Macau.

However, he had left Macau while Bukit Aman was seeking assistance from the region's authorities.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) claimed in its suits that the businessperson was involved in multiple instances where 1MDB funds were allegedly misappropriated.

He is accused of having used 1MDB funds to purchase a superyacht, the Equanimity; jewellery for model Miranda Kerr; and also a US$27.3 million pink diamond necklace for the wife of Malaysian Official 1 (MO1).

The DOJ claimed the pink diamond was purchased using US$620 million that MO1 claimed to have returned to a royal Arab donor, but was instead channelled to accounts allegedly controlled by Low.

MO1 has been identified as former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, who has denied abusing public funds for personal gain.

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