Fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho has dismissed a Wall Street Journal report claiming that he had a role in facilitating deals with China to bail out 1MDB in 2016 in exchange for lucrative contracts.
In a statement from his spokesperson that was issued through his lawyers, Low said that the article contained “half-truths” and blamed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration for it.
“The Wall Street Journal’s latest story is simply a continuation of the Mahathir regime’s trial by media.
“The article is a selection of half-truths, mixed in with fiction, to create a misleading and oversimplified narrative that has been peddled by a morally-bankrupt Mahathir regime to advance its failing political cause,” the statement said.
Low, who is also known as Jho Low, further said the claims in the article were unsubstantiated and politically motivated accusations.
“Extraordinary and serious claims require extraordinary evidence and the Mahathir regime has failed to provide any legitimate evidence to support these politically-motivated accusations.
“It is the journalistic responsibility of the Wall Street Journal to have approached such claims with scepticism and suspicion, and it is unfortunate that these baseless political accusations are passed off as legitimate reporting,” he added.
Former premier Najib Abdul Razak and the Chinese embassy of Malaysia had also denied the article’s claims.
Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin had said the previous cabinet under Najib did not know that project deals with China were meant to bail out 1MDB.
Yesterday, WSJ journalists Tom Wright and Bradley Hope cited minutes of previously undisclosed meetings and sources to claim that Beijing had offered to bail out 1MDB, as well as help uncover how the journalists obtained information about the firm.
Wright and Hope also alleged that Chinese officials had offered to pressure the US and other countries to drop their 1MDB-related investigations, and that secret talks were underway to allow Chinese navy vessels to dock at two Malaysian ports.
They said Malaysian officials, meanwhile, had proposed billing some projects at above-market prices to generate excess funds for other purposes.
“Within months, Najib, who has denied any wrongdoing in the 1MDB matter, signed US$34 billion of rail and pipeline deals with Chinese state companies, to be funded by Chinese banks and built by Chinese workers,” they said, referring to the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) projects.
The two WSJ journalists had previously won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the 1MDB scandal, and had authored the book Billion Dollar Whale detailing Low’s alleged role in the scandal.
For the record, Low has denied wrongdoing, while Najib has claimed trial to 1MDB-related criminal charges against him.