Fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho has been charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars that he embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a investment fund whose goal was to promote economic development in the country, and conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials. He also used the billions to put himself in the orbit of famous celebrities, including
In a statement to DailyMail.com, a representative for Low stated that he maintains his ‘innocence.’
That statement also notes: ‘Furthermore, the bond offerings detailed in the indictment were undertaken openly and lawfully between experienced, well-regulated financial institutions and government entities.The US Department of Justice specifically states that the charges in the indictment are allegations, and that Mr Low is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.’
It is unclear where Low is residing at this time.
Friends in high places: Low Taek Jho is accused of laundering billions of dollars that he embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad over the course of five years (above with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013)
Hadid it: He then used that money to make close to $2 billion worth of purchases in the United States alone, picking up hotels, mansions, penthouses and art (Low above with Gigi Hadid in 2014)
Goldman hit: Tim Leissner (ABOVE IN 2013), the husband of Kimora Lee Simmons, has entered a guilty plea already for his role and been ordered to forfeit $43.7 million as a result of his crimes
On the park: Low’s biggest purchase by far was the $654,316,305 he spent on the Park Lane Hotel, located on Central Park in New York City
Sea fare: He also needed a vessel for the sea, and dropped $250 million on his very own yacht, Equanimity (above)
Westward ho: Low’s real estate interests were not confined to just the East Coast, with the financier also picking up a stake in the Viceroy L’Hermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills for just shy of $200 million
High in the sky: After spending millions to rent jets, Low finally dropped $35 million to purchase a Bombardier (interior above)
Low, along with Ng Chong Hwa and Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner allegedly conspired to launder the proceeds of their criminal conduct through the U.S. financial system by purchasing, among other things, luxury residential real estate in New York City and elsewhere, and artwork from a New York-based auction house, and by funding major Hollywood films.
As a result, Low soon managed to score invites to exclusive social events and galas, where he dined and danced alongside Hollywood beauties like supermodel Gigi Hadid.
Art: Low had a desire to own a number of famous art pieces, and snapped up a Rothko for $70 million (left, Untitled Yellow and Blue) while gifting DiCaprio a Jean-Michel Basquiat (Redman on right) for a little more than $9 million
Tranquil: Low went to Sotheby’s to purchase the classic Nymphéas avec reflets de hautes herbes by Claude Monet (above), which set him back $57.5 million
Big spender: At a Christie’s auction in 2013, Low paid a record $48,843,750 for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Dusthead (left), and got Picasso’s Tete du Femme for a somewhat cheaper $40 million (right)
Etch and sketch: The drawing of Vincent Van Gogh’s La maison de Vincent (above) was purchased at auction by Low for $5.485 million
Gifts: A Pablo Picasso piece, Nature Morte au Crane de Taureau, was bought for $3.38 million (above) by Low
Installations: Low also bought two pieces by Calder at auction for prices that greatly exceeded estimates (Six White Dots on left bought for $5,387,750, Tic Tac Toe on right bought for $3,035,750)
Leissner, who is married to former model Kimora Lee Simmons, has already entered a guilty plea to charges of conspiring to launder money and conspiring to violate the FCPA by both paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials and circumventing the internal accounting controls of the Financial Institution.
He has been ordered to forfeit $43.7 million as a result of his crimes.
High in the sky: Low purchased the penthouse apartment at the Walker Tower in New York City (above), on the border of the West Village and Chelsea, for $50,912,500.
Low acquired a Soho penthouse atop the fashionable Louis Vuitton store for $13.8 million (above)
Bey and Jay: Low moved into the same building as Beyonce and Jay Z, where he bought a $30 million penthouse (above)
On the park: Another penthouse just a few blocks away set Low back $23.98 million, and offered clear views od Central park (above)
With billions at his disposal, Low quickly began to find ways to spend the money, and his biggest purchase by far was the $654,316,305 he spent on the Park Lane Hotel, located on Central Park in New York City.
That move got him an 85 percent stake in the property back in 2013, with the other 15 percent owned by Steven Witkoff, a developer in New York.
‘This was the best site in New York City and maybe the world. We designed what the entire partnership thought was a beautiful building,’ witkoff told the New York Times after learning about his partner’s alleged crimes. ‘Little did we know we’d face circumstances like this.’
Central London: A grand total of $98 million was spent on apartments across three buildings on Stratton Street (above) in Mayfair
London calling: Low also purchased a Qentas townhouse for $41,799,886 in the upscale Belgravia neighborhood (above)
Beverly Hills: For a home on Oriole Way in Los Angeles (above), Low splashed out $38.98 million a few years into his scheme
The owners of the Park Lane agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice and sell the hotel while placing Low’s share in escrow. The hotel, which was on the market for $1 billion, has struggled to find a buyer.
He also needed a vessel for the sea, and dropped $250 million on his very own yacht, Equanimity. That boat is currently on the auction block.
Low’s real estate interests were not confined to just the East Coast, with the financier also picking up a stake in the Viceroy L’Hermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills. He paid $194.7 million, and soon began hosting celebrity galas at the venue.
HOW LOW TAEK JHO SPENT STOLEN BILLIONS
A partial list of how the Malaysian financier allegedly spent the billions her pilfered from 1MDB over the course of six years
Park Lane Hotel (NYC) – $654,316,305
Equanimity (Yacht) – $250 million
L’Hermitage Hotel (Beverly Hills) – $194.7 million
EMI Music (approx 66.2 percent share) – $106,666,667
Stratton Street compound (London) – $98 million
Mark Rothko, Untitled Yellow and Blue (Christie’s sale) – $70 million (est.)
Red Granite Pictures (Wolf of Wall Street funding) – $64 million
Claude Monet, Nympheas avec Reflets (Sotheby’s sale) – $57.5 million
West Village penthouse (NYC) – $50,912,500
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dustheads (Christie’s auction) – $48,843,750
Qentas Townhouse (London) – $41,799,886
Pablo Picasso, Tete du Femme – $40 million
Oriole Mansion (Beverly Hills) – $38.98 million
Bombardier Jet – $35,371,335
Claude Monet, Saint Georges Majeur (SNS Fine Arts) – $35 million
Lauren Mansion (Beverly Hills) – $31 million
Time Warner penthouse (NYC) – $30.550 million
New York City penthouse – $23.98 million
Hillcrest mansion one (Beverly Hills)– $17.5 million
Hillcrest mansion two (Beverly Hills) – $15 million
Soho penthouse (NYC) – $13.8 million
Venetian (Las Vegas gambling debts) – $13.4 million
Caesars Palace (Las Vegas gambling debts) – $12 million
Jean-Michael Basquiat, Redman One – $9,191,040
Alexander Calder, Six White Dots (Christie’s auction)– $5,387,750
Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attesa (Christie’s sale) – $7 million (est.)
Vincent Van Gogh, La maison de Vincent (Christie’s auction) – $5.485 million
Jet Logic (jet rental)– $4 million
Alexander Calder, Tic Tac Toe (Christie’s auction) – $3,035,750
Rose Trading Jewelry (Hong Kong) – $3.8 million
Pablo Picasso, Nature Morte au Crane de Taureau – $3.38 million
Yachtzoo (yacht rental) – $2.698 million
Ardent Design (London interior designer) – $2.288 million
Diane Arbus, Child With Toy Hand Grenade – $750,000
Mark Ryden, Queen Bee (Christie’s auction) – $714,000
Excel Air (jet rental) – $670,000
Skyline Private air (jet rental) – $460,00
Ed Ruscha, Bliss Bucket (Christie’s auction) – $380,000
Billyon Air (jet rental) – $155,000
Wizard of Oz, original film poster – $75,000