Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has confirmed that three people are being investigated over money laundering claims in connection with Malaysian sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The three persons named by Singapore are:
- Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low: The Malaysian financier is believed to be closely linked to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's step son Riza Aziz as well as 'an adviser' to 1MDB;
- Eric Tan Kim Loong: He has been identified as an associate of Low
- Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny: The American is the former chief executive of Aabar Investments PJS, a subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Company, an Abu Dhabi government sovereign fund.
This is the first confirmation that the three are being investigated by Singapore, reports The Straits Times. The revelation was made by CAD officer Oh Yong Yang who was testifying in a court in Singapore against former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei who has been charged with four counts of obstructing justice.
The three named – Low Taek Jho, Eric Tan Kim Loong and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny – have already been listed in a Department of Justice civil suit filed in July 2016.
Court documents show that the DoJ is seeking to seize more than £1bn in assets that it claims were allegedly purchased with funds siphoned from the state fund. The three however have not been charged with any crimes in the US.
CAD officer Oh told the court that the three are also being investigated in other jurisdictions. Both Low and Tan have been the subject of the CAD investigations since last year, he said.
The officer also confirmed that four shell companies, set up to sound like the genuine subsidiary of Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, IPIC also "feature in our investigations."
The companies are: Aabar International Investments PJS Ltd (incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (incorporated in Samoa), Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (incorporated in Seychelles) and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (incorporated in the British Virgin Islands).
The Wall Street Journal said that Low's whereabouts are not known, adding that he "continues to move freely around the world." It said Low, 35, could not be reached for comment although he had previously denied any wrongdoing in his dealings with 1MDB.
Similarly, the newspaper said Al Husseiny could not be reached for comment while Tan's whereabouts are not known.