KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, wanted in connection with a multibillion-dollar graft scandal at state fund 1MDB, is believed to have left Macau for an unknown destination, Malaysian police said on Wednesday.
Low, popularly known as Jho Low, has been identified by investigators in Malaysia and the United States as a key figure in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, which is also subject to investigations in other countries including Switzerland and Singapore.
The U.S. Department of Justice says an estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.
Malaysian police had asked Macau authorities to detain Low. They suspected he had fled to Macau to evade arrest in Hong Kong.
But on Wednesday, Malaysian police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said Low was believed to have left Macau, citing an email from Macau authorities.
“According to the e-mail, Jho Low is believed to have left Macau for an unknown destination,” Mohamad Fuzi was quoted as saying by Malaysia’s state news agency Bernama.
The Macau Judiciary Police confirmed in a statement to Reuters that it had sent a response to Malaysia, but said it would “not disclose personal entry and exit information”.
It also disputed Mohamad Fuzi’s statements to the media.
“The relevant national police chief had recently provided the media with information about Macau, which is not in line with the facts,” the statement said.
“This office finds it extremely regrettable,” it said, without elaborating.
Mohamad Fuzi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Malaysia’s immigration department cancelled Low’s passport in June. The head of the department was quoted by Bernama saying he believed Low was using a passport issued by another country in order to travel.
Reporting by Rozanna Latiff in KUALA LUMPUR and Farah Master in MACAU; Editing by Neil Fullick