With Najib not able to protect him now, Low was said to be negotiating with Malaysian investigators of 1MDB for witness protection in return for his cooperation in assisting with the probe.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has turned down an offer for Malaysian investigators to interview Jho Low in Dubai, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
A report in the US financial daily yesterday said Low had told the task force investigating 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that he was willing to meet them in Dubai.
However, Mahathir had rejected the offer and the message had been conveyed through an intermediary, according to the report.
WSJ said that Mahathir told them Malaysia’s laws do not allow the absolution of Low’s participation in the 1MDB scandal in return for his cooperation in tracking down where the money went.
“I’m quite sure the kind of incentive he would readily accept is that he would not be prosecuted… But we can’t do that. It’s against the law. The law does not provide for what American law provides, plea bargaining and all that,” Mahathir said.
WSJ also reported that Low had told his friends that he felt safe before the elections because former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was protecting him.
Apparently, he had told associates earlier this year that he had Najib’s protection, which is now threatened after the former premier’s fall from grace after GE14.
News reports in the past two days have speculated that Low had sought immunity from prosecution by becoming a crown witness and testifying against those who may be put on trial for corruption, embezzlement or money-laundering.
Low is accused of masterminding the theft of billions of ringgit from 1MDB.
He is believed to be living in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.
Earlier this month, the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) issued warrants of arrest for Low, former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng and a former 1MDB official Shahrol Halmi.
Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with China.
Putrajaya is now using back-channel communications with Beijing to try to seek Low’s return to Malaysia, WSJ reported.