06 Nov 2019
Although suspicious transactions from Jho Taek Low’s local bank accounts were flagged as early as October 2015, and despite Interpol issuing an arrest warrant for the Malaysian businessman-cum-fugitive a year later, the government never initiated a process to revoke his passport.
Daily Politis on Tuesday revealed more information raising a host of questions as to why the Malaysian’s passport deal has flown under the radar until now.
On September 11, 2015 the 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.
On September 22, Low issued a cheque for €300,000 to the Archbishopric, and a day later a cheque for €650,000 as a sales commission to a property developer relating to Low’s purchase of a villa in Ayia Napa.
Bank of Cyprus, tracking the traffic in Low’s accounts, notified Mokas, the police’s anti-money laundering unit. The lender submitted a report to Mokas in early October 2015.
According to Politis, sometime over the following days, the bank closed Low’s two accounts, which he had opened in June of the same year.
In turn, Mokas conducted an investigation, the findings of which were relayed to the interior ministry in early 2016.
It appears the ministry took no action concerning Low’s passport.
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.
Still the government here did nothing.
Earlier this week, president Nicos Anastasiades said Low’s passport “should” be revoked, adding however that authorities first need to follow due process.
Meantime a London-based PR agency, representing Low, stressed Tuesday that the Malaysian businessman is innocent until proven guilty.
In an email to the Cyprus Mail, the PHA Group said on their client’s behalf: “Mr Low vigorously denies any wrongdoing and… none of the allegations against Mr Low have ever been proven in a court of law.”
Regarding the apparent involvement of the Church as mediator/facilitator, Politis found that Low’s €300,000 cheque to the benefit of the Archbishopric was issued “on the same day” as his passport was granted.
By Elias Hazou, Cyprus Mail, 5 November 2019
Read more at Cyprus Mail
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