By Caribbean News Now contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts — Despite previously declining to comment on the matter, the government of St Kitts and Nevis said in a press statement on Tuesday that it had deactivated the St Kitts-Nevis passport of Low Taek Jho, also known as “Jho Low”, back in June, following initial media reports of Low’s alleged involvement in a multibillion dollar embezzlement and money laundering scheme.
A three-count criminal indictment was unsealed last week in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging Low with conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s investment development fund, and conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.
According to the government, Low became an economic citizen of St Kitts and Nevis under the Denzil Douglas-led administration in 2011, but has never at any time entered the country. Immigration records reportedly indicate that Low has never entered any port in St Kitts and Nevis.
On June 8, 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia was seeking to arrest Low, who was believed to be residing abroad.
The St Kitts and Nevis government said it then took the decision, out of an abundance of caution, to deactivate Low’s St Kitts and Nevis passport through Interpol in June 2018.
In August, Malaysian police filed criminal charges against Low in absentia. He was charged with eight counts of money laundering at a court in the administrative capital Putrajaya. His father, Low Hock Peng, was also charged with one count under the same money laundering act.