A significant twist has emerged with regard to the 1MDB saga where it was disclosed in a Singapore court that billionaire Jho Low had also used a different name in his financial dealings involving Malaysia’s troubled investment fund.
Though investigations into 1MDB transactions are being carried out in various countries, Singapore has been the swiftest, shutting down BSI Bank and Falcon Private Bank for facilitating the laundering of 1MDB-linked funds and charging former employees of these banks.
Earlier this week, the Singapore court heard that the often mentioned “Eric Tan Kim Loong” was in fact an alias for Low.
According to the Singapore case, Falcon Private Bank Singapore branch manager Jens Sturzeneggar had been in communication with the email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, but later discovered that he was actually corresponding with Low.
When the two met, the Malaysian-born billionaire revealed that he used the name Eric Tan on some occasions for “security” purposes.
Tan, whose name had cropped up repeatedly as the owner of several companies to which 1MDB funds were allegedly diverted to, had been a mystery from the onset.
Unlike Low, who is known to be a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s family, Tan did not fit into the 1MDB puzzle apart from being described as a “business associate” of the billionaire.
The Singapore case established that four Falcon Private Bank accounts were held by companies controlled by Low using the alias “Eric Tan Kim Loong” and that Sturzeneggar had tried to conceal this fact.
On Wednesday, Sturzeneggar pleaded guilty to this and five other charges and was slapped with a 28-week jail sentence and a S$128,000 fine.
Two of the Falcon accounts mentioned in the case were held by Granton Property Holdings Limited and Tanore Finance Corporation.
The latter was the origin of the US$681 million in Najib’s personal bank accounts.
Based on the revelation that the accounts were controlled by Low through an alias, there appears now to be a direct money trail link between the prime minister and Low.
Najib had maintained that the colossal sum was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family and denied abusing public funds for personal gain.
Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who cleared Najib of any wrongdoing, also claimed that US$620 million of the money was returned to the donor.
According to US Department of Justice (DOJ), which has sought to seize US$1 billion of allegedly “stolen money” from 1MDB, the specific amount – US$620,010,715 – was returned to Tanore… – Malaysiakini