Also, investigating if two intermediaries – a Thai individual and a rapper – helped Low to pay his bills after the fugitive’s access to the global financial system was sharply curtailed due to the 1MDB scandal.
Investigations into the financial dealings of Jho Low have intensified in the United States, with the Department of Justice (DoJ) extending its probe to determine whether he laundered vast sums of money amounting to tens of millions of dollars through two associates, and used those funds to pay a US legal team.
The legal team includes former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and a lawyer who has been representing US President Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday.
In its report, WSJ pointed out that Malaysian authorities earlier this week levelled separate money-laundering charges against Low in the 1MDB case.
Low has reportedly been moving around in recent months in the Greater China region, shifting between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.
Since 2016, the fugitive’s access to the global financial system has been severely restricted by banks, WSJ reported.
“There is no indication that any of the people who ultimately received payments were aware the funds could have originated from money Low allegedly syphoned off from 1MDB,” said the report.
WSJ also reports that the DoJ is also investigating whether a Thai businessman, Phengphian Laogumnerd, and former American rap artiste, Pras Michel, a founding member of the Fugees hip-hop group, played any role in helping Low make payments.
“For at least a year, these people say, Low has relied on Phengphian to pay accommodation expenses in Hong Kong and Macau, legal and advisory bills and to keep Low’s US$250 million yacht Equanimity fully staffed and maintained until it was seized earlier this month.
“DoJ investigators are examining records and money flows related to a series of companies controlled by Phengphian in Hong Kong and in offshore havens such as the British Virgin Islands to determine whether Low’s money was involved, the people said,” the report added.
However, Pengphian’s spokesperson and Michel’s lawyer reportedly denied the allegations.
“The source of his income is nothing to do with – and he has not received any money from Low.
“What he chooses to do with his own funds is his business alone. The DoJ has never contacted him about anything, neither have they ever asked him about the source of his funds,” Pengphian’s spokesperson was quoted saying.
WSJ added that Michel’s lawyer said that the rapper had not done anything improper.