A fugitive Malaysian businessman is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice after allegedly laundering tens of millions of dollars that was eventually used to finance a legal team that included New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and one of the lawyers who represents President Donald Trump, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal.
Jho Low, the Malaysian businessman in question, is currently being considered as the primary focus in the alleged embezzlement of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd, a Malaysian fund that saw $4.5 billion misappropriated from it, based on descriptions that were given in filings to the U.S. Court.
This case has been considered one of the largest cases of financial frauds in history, with Malaysian authorities charging Low of money laundering earlier this week. Low’s current location is unknown, with reports placing the businessman in locations such as Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China over the course of recent months.
Low’s relationship with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rajak is closely associated with the case, as Rajak was arrested after shockingly losing his position after May elections. Rajak pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust for his role in the scandal at 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
U.S. probes whether Malaysian financier laundered payments to Chris Christie and others, people familiar with the matter say https://t.co/7x0l9HL5JF— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 29, 2018
In 2016 and 2017, the U.S. Justice Department filed lawsuits to recover assets that Low purchased in the United States using funds from the account and is now pursuing a criminal investigation. Due to banking restrictions that have been placed on him, Low has often been unable to pay directly for not only his assets but also legal and advisory services.
The Justice Department is currently investigating two intermediates that “cleaned” Low’s profits gained through the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scheme. Those who received payment from Low through his money laundering may not have been aware of the source of the cash.
Low’s current legal team consists of Christie, Marc Kasowitz, a long-serving lawyer of President Trump, Bobby Burchfield, who served as an adviser for the Trump Organization, and Ed Rogers, a Washington lobbyist.
Christie is currently representing Low in California-based asset-forfeiture cases.
“There has been no communication by Governor Christie with any other area of government on Mr. Low’s behalf,” the spokesman representing Christie told the Wall Street Journal. “No inquiry made to him by the Department of Justice with regard to any other investigation regarding funding or otherwise.”
In a statement from a spokesman within Kasowitz’ law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, the firm confirmed that it does represents Low on issues related to the Justice Department while adding, “Here, as with all of our clients, our job as attorneys is to represent and vindicate our clients’ interests; and here, as with all of our non-pro-bono clients, we are paid for the legal services we provide.”