Author: ‘Whale’ a tale of fraud and Jho Low’s life of excess

Justin Ong
Wright and Hope’s book was released globally yesterday, and the former will be in Kuala Lumpur on September 25 to promote 'Billion Dollar Whale' at the Kinokuniya bookstore in KLCC. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Billion Dollar Whale is also an account of the power and corruption that money can bring, author Tom Wright wrote last night to explain the narrative of the book seen as chronicling the 1MDB saga.

In an extended thread on Twitter, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) writer said he and co-author Bradley Hope set out to to paint a full picture of the titular “whale”, fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, the man he categorised as someone who “never had a real job”.

“Low’s is more than just a heist story — though the theft of US$5B, is staggering. It’s a tale about how money buys anything in the world: a mega-yacht, friendship with Leo DiCaprio, trips to the White House, attention from Goldman Sachs. Money+chutzpah make the world go round,” he wrote.

Wright and Hope’s book was released globally yesterday. The former has been running interference to efforts by Low and the latter’s team of publicists and lawyers who are trying to discredit the book and others like it.

Posting synopses from various parts of Whale on Twitter, Wright crafted the image of the quintessential grifter, describing Low as deceitful since his student days when the Penang-native plagiarised WSJ reports and presented these as his own.



Low also began cultivating his eventual vocation as fixer in his university days, Wright wrote when dismissing the Malaysian’s Wynton Group as anything other than a front for Middle Eastern cash (Wright suggested that Low was also being cheeky in naming the firm, with Wynton meaning “win tonnes”, possibly of money).

The WSJ journalist pivotal in exposing the US$681 million deposited in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts went on to say that Low’s only achievement was securing the initial scam to what eventually developed into the global financial scandal that is 1MDB.

Much of the thread appears designed to counter Low’s allegation that Whale focused unfairly on his playboy image to foment “guilt by lifestyle” and that the book did not demonstrate his direct involvement in the alleged defrauding of Malaysia through 1MDB.

In an interview this week, Wright expressed belief that the billionaire also known as Jho Low was the mastermind behind the 1MDB saga.

Wright and Hope’s book were released globally yesterday, and the former will be in Kuala Lumpur on September 25 to promote Whale at the Kinokuniya bookstore in KLCC.

Low relaunched his personal website this week in an attempt to tell his side of the 1MDB saga and discredit recent books on the scandal including Whale, which lawyers believed to represent him have tried to force off bookshelves by way of legal threats.

Low remains wanted in Malaysia where he has outstanding arrest warrants issued to the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over his alleged role in the 1MDB scandal.

He steadfastly denies any wrongdoing in relation to the state investment firm, insisting his involvement ended with the Terengganu Investment Authority prior to its rebranding as 1MDB by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

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