Cyprus, on its own initiative, undertook to return the loot of fugitive Joe Lowe to the people of Malaysia. The luxurious mansion of the businessman wanted by Interpol is coming under fire, after the Malaysian authorities finally responded to the request of MOKAS and sent to the Cypriot authorities the necessary request for legal assistance to seize the mansion of their citizen. Based on this document, the Malaysian authorities authorize the Cypriot authorities to proceed with the sale of the villa and to send the money from its sale to the funds of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance.
The clearing of the assets of Joe Lowe started with a Cypriot initiative, reports to “Politis” the head of MOKAS Eva Papakyriakou, addressing a relevant letter to the respective body of Malaysia. MOKAS Malaysia, due to different legislation and responsibilities, initially declared itself incompetent to handle such a case, as a result of which they referred the Cypriot authorities to the Malaysian judiciary, which finally formally submitted the request for legal assistance recently.
Mr. Joe Lowe, as revealed by “Politis”, came to Cyprus on September 18, 2015 and through an express procedure in two days exceptionally received his passport from the Council of Ministers. At the same time, the brokerage firm Henley & Partners on September 23, 2015 acting on behalf of its client Joe Taek Low bought an unfinished villa in the Limnara area of Ayia Napa for the amount of 5 million euros. The mansion bought by a construction company in Paralimni has not yet been transferred to Joe Lowe. The Cypriot construction company Donnica Ltd, which still owns the mansion, after the intervention of MOKAS stated that it is ready to cooperate with the Cypriot authorities. As she stated to “P”, one of her legal advisers, “we will comply with any decision taken by the Cypriot courts and we will fully cooperate with the authorities”.
Joe Lowe is wanted in his home country for theft and mismanagement of about $ 10 billion, money that was donated to the Malaysian Development Fund. The 1MDB fund was set up in 2009 by former Prime Minister Najib Razak to lead the country to growth and boost the country's public wealth. Razak was arrested on September 19, 2018, tried and sentenced on August 25, 2020 to 12 years in prison. He was also fined 210 million ringgit ($ 49.40 million).
The fund initially aimed to raise $ 8 billion in bonds with the help of Goldman Sachs. Then, due to his sad management, he managed to have debts of 11.73 billion dollars, while according to the American authorities, at least 4.5 billion dollars have been stolen. Stockbroker Joe Lowe and an adviser to Prime Minister Razak are the number one suspects in, among other things, the laundering of more than $ 400 million embezzled from the fund through a US bank account. In the US, prosecutors have already implicated at least two top bank executives in a case of bribery, theft and money laundering through the Malaysian “super fund” (1MDB) in a case that has already received the praise of “one of the biggest financial fraud in history “. Recently, the lawyers of Joe Lowe, who is still hiding in China, reached a compromise with the American authorities.
The Anti-Concealment Unit (MOKAS) started the relevant process in 2019 and recently made two moves, in an effort to prevent any moves by Lowe to sell his assets in Cyprus. Specifically, MOKAS secured through a court a decree according to which the Cypriot Land Registry can not accept any alienation of the expensive villa that Lowe bought in Ayia Napa, while at the same time asked the Bank of Cyprus to freeze the account of his friend or husband. As “Politis” wrote, since 2019 the specific woman had submitted an application for the granting of Cypriot citizenship as connected with the Malaysian wanted person, but it seems that she did not manage to obtain it. Joe Lowe is also on the list of 29 people the Republic of Cyprus is considering stripping of its citizenship.
Conviction of an accomplice
Meanwhile, last Tuesday 25/08/2020, a Malaysian court found former Prime Minister Najib Razak, a key aide to Joe Lowe, guilty of corruption and abuse of power. The court sentenced him to 12 years in prison in the first trial linked to the multibillion-dollar financial scandal in the 1MDB state coffers.
In the case, which was reportedly seen as a test of the country's determination to crack down on corruption and could have major political implications, the court fined 67-year-old Najib 12 years in prison and fined him 210 million ringgit (49 , $ 40 million).
The court also sentenced him to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts of breach of trust and three counts of money laundering illegally obtained by SRC International, a former state-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The judge ordered the sentences to be offset.
Najib himself had pleaded not guilty and announced that he intended to go to federal court if convicted.
Joe Lowe, despite being declared by the Malaysian authorities, is still missing, according to some reports, hiding in a province of China. Joe Lowe's lawyers recently compromised with US authorities on more than $ 1 billion in US tax debts.