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Malaysia says fugitive businessman is still trying to invest in Cyprus (Updated)

Malaysian businessman Jho Taek Low

Malaysian businessman Jho Taek Low, who acquired a Cypriot citizenship four years ago, is still trying to buy purchase properties in Cyprus under another name, Malaysia’s authorities said on Wednesday.

According to Malaysian media reports, the country’s police inspector-general, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, said during a press conference that Low is not hiding in Cyprus.

The Star online news portal reported that Hamid said Low is however active in Cyprus.

The state official said that after arrests they made three to four weeks ago, they have obtained information “stating that Jho Low is currently trying to buy properties in Cyprus by using another name”.

He added that Low still had control of billions.

Hamid also again expressed his disappointment with a country which he did not name over the lack of assistance in locating Low who is wanted by Malaysia and elsewhere in connection with financial crimes.

Low is reportedly hiding in China.

“He’s still there, hiding like a chicken,” he said, adding that it’s impossible for him to leave the country where he has been hiding so easily.

He added that he continues to hold talks via official and semi-official channels in an ongoing effort to bring Jho Low back to Malaysia.

On September 11, 2015 the Cyprus cabinet approved an interior ministry proposal to grant Low – who was not wanted by any authorities at the time – a Cypriot passport under the citizenship-by-investment scheme. The passport was issued a few days later.

In October 2016, Interpol published a red notice at Singapore’s request to locate and arrest Low in an investigation related to 1MDB fund flows within its jurisdiction.

The international arrest warrant was likewise disseminated to Cypriot police.

Low however maintains he is innocent and that he had been a subject to a series of allegations across the globe in relation to the operations of 1MDB many of which have originated from blog posts, improper leaks from within governmental agencies around the world or unproven allegations filed in court.

In an open letter published on Low’s website, the businessman said that he has never been afforded an opportunity to set the record straight and that these unproven allegations “have been improperly elevated to the status of facts”.

Low’s home in Ayia Napa which is reportedly worth €5m is part of a nine-villa complex which is adjacent to an area that was included in the Natura 2000 network in May 2015.

The complex is very close to a beach created after rocks and vegetation were illegally removed to provide access to the properties’ owners, daily Politis reported.

The properties were built on land purchased by the arhbishopric.

Haravgi had reported in 2016 that Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos had asked the archbishop in a letter to exert his influence so that the all competent state services would consent to issue the necessary permits for the improvement of the coastal area because it was going to be a public utility project.

Karousos told Politis on Wednesday that following a decision by the municipal council, works will begin for the restoration of the area in cooperation with state services.

 

 

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