A man with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns. – Writer Mario Puzo

When a man tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him: “Whose?” – US journalist, Don Marquis

There were these reports, the snippets, always hinting of danger, of looming events forebodingly close. 

I mean, having to perpetually skulk about in the shadows can’t bring peace to the fat fraud once known as Felonious or Jho Low. 

Like Charlie Brown, he was beginning to dread the future “one day at a time.” 

And it was all the fault of Bradley Hope, a pestilential American reporter who insisted on keeping the theft alive, who helped to write Billion Dollar Whale, an expose of 1MDB and the staggering theft of almost US$5 billion from Malaysia’s coffers. 

One of the heist’s perpetrators is already behind bars and only Felonious remains, stashed surreptitiously somewhere in China. 

Not for long, according to Mr Hope. It was a grim and stern warning and it required more than a couple of ice-cold goblets of Dom Perignon to soothe the ragged, and twitching, nerves of the palpably, petrified pilferer. 

Indeed, Mr Hope’s report citing, even more alarmingly, “multiple sources” was enough to scare the daylights out of any fugitive worth his salt.  

And Felonious, who’d salted away more billions than Bernie Madoff, who’d out-wolfed every Wolf on Wall Street, knew he was worth at least that

Mr Hope claimed Putrajaya and Beijing were close to hammering out a deal to repatriate Felonious, assets and all, back to Malaysia. The deal, apparently, was hatched after Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s first official visit to China, recently. 

Mr Hope, a former Wall Street Journal writer, claimed the deal would include absolving China of its alleged complicity in the 1MDB cover-up and its previous support for disgraced former Premier Najib Razak, now serving time. 

Prison has  circumscribed Jibby’s bragging rights considerably: “Do you know who I used to be?” 

But I digress: we were talking about Felonious weren’t we? 

You could say the dumpy dacoit had a lot on his mind. His problem was compounded by the fact that he continued to remain in the public eye and for all the wrong reasons. This embarrassed the Chinese even more because of Beijing’s much ballyhooed “aversion” to corruption.

I mean, you can’t successfully project a “beacon of rectitude” kind of image if you continue to shelter the world’s most wanted thief, can you?  

Felonious has steadfastly denied complicity in the heist. But the fact that many assets in his name – from a corporate jet and a superyacht to prime real estate in New York and Los Angeles – have been  seized without any resistance from him seems like tacit acknowledgement in no small degree. You don’t have to be Colombo to know that. 

And it goes on. Last month, Kuwait sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment after convicting him in absentia with two others of embezzling 1MDB funds.

And now we learn that the chubby charlatan was lavish with Malaysian taxpayer monies to win  friends and subvert governments.

A Washington court was told yesterday that Pras Michel, a rap artiste and influencer, was paid US$100 million by Felonious to:  

  • Stop US Department of Justice probes into him 
  • Facilitate the extradition of a Chinese dissident in the US back to Beijing, and
  • Allow Felonious a photo opportunity with Barack Obama. 

The hits just kept on coming and it was getting tedious. Felonious sighed and poured himself more champagne. You know what they say, he thought: a fool and his money…

…are soon partying.