Most people thought they knew all about Low Teck Jho. On matters of style, for example, they knew he had the best taste money could buy.
It now turns out that the corpulent conman known as Jho Low to pal and prosecutor alike also kept his cards close to his chest. In those days before the wannabe wrongdoer morphed into the fat fugitive he is now, his regular three-nation tours abroad were assumed to be visits to his money. Now it seems it was not just the US, Switzerland and Singapore that held his assets, it was the United Kingdom as well.
And, if you thought he only owned realty, art and jewellery think again: he owned a lingerie firm in London as well.
We know all this because of the US authorities. The London office used by the Malaysian miscreant for his luxury lingerie company is to be sold under a forfeiture claim by the United States because, according to US authorities, the property is one of many acquired with money embezzled from IMDB.
And, as per his wont, nothing was too good for him.
The office as well as a nearby penthouse and apartment was acquired by the tubby thief in 2010 on Stratton Street in the upscale Mayfair neighbourhood. The bad news for the plump pilferer is that he is likely to surrender those monies to the US and Malaysia.
But he was an optimist. It could be worse, reflected Fatso philosophically, “I could still have been living there.”
You didn’t have to be a philosopher to figure the reasons why he dived into underwear.
The ample alumnus of Stanford liked to be brief. His speech was clipped and short. His emails were short and generally coded and even his meetings were kept short to discourage questions.
It explained his foray into lingerie which his associates knew rhymed with “gingerly”. But the bulky brigand put it differently. “Brevity is the soul of lingerie,” he explained and they knew they were in the presence of The Master.
The dapper delinquent thought he’d masterfully handled his Stratton offices which were used by Myla, the said lingerie company that Low thought could be leveraged into film and profit seeing how he’d bankrolled Red Granite, a film production firm that had, incredibly, produced at least one award-winning film. The firm was headed by a stepson of Fearless Leader who, unlike his chubby consigliore, was facing the music and not safely ensconced in a country that denied it was China.
In a 2014 email the plump Penangite sent from his Myla account, he introduced a Red Granite Pictures representative to Myla executives to follow up on “any opportunities for Myla in the movie space.
But Hollywood turned up its nose at “Lost Encounters of a Brief Kind” and, instead, happily agreed to “Dumb and Dumber.”
There was no accounting for some people’s tastes, thought the thick thief tranquilly.
But life was no longer tranquil and the voluminous villain was belatedly realising that the odds of retaining his overseas assets were sinking faster than his associates could mispronounce “Titanic”. The US had brought thirty forfeiture suits against him and, cumulatively, was seeking real estate, investments, art and jewellery valued at US$1.7billion (RM7.14 billion) that Fatty and his accomplices had bought with their ill-gotten gains.
He could not go to the US to defend those suits because he would be arrested if he did. But as long as he wasn’t there, he would lose.
It was ironic, he thought, but it was better than Fearless’ position.
Crime meant never having to say you were sorry.