Citizenship broker denies taking on Jho Low as client, says responsibility lies with Cyprus govt

Zurairi Ar
Low (centre) pedals a trishaw carrying US rapper Busta Rhymes in George Town on April 19, 2013. — Picture by KE Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — Broker firm Henley & Partners explained today that it had rebuffed Low Taek Jho as a client, amid claims that the fugitive billionaire has acquired Cypriot citizenship.

The firm also asserted that, in the case of the man also known as Jho Low, the responsibility to process and approve such an application lies with the government — who is also in a position to annul Low’s application.

“Contrary to what has been stated in multiple articles, Low has never been a client of Henley & Partners.

“Whilst he approached Henley & Partners in 2015, the firm declined to accept Low as a client,” the firm said in a statement to Malay Mail.

The firm said it has invested significant time and capital in the past two decades to create a corporate structure that implements best practices and employs the highest levels of due diligence, even before passing a client over for the consideration of a sovereign state.

Politis, a Greek-language newspaper in Cyprus, first reported that Low obtained the passport from the island state in the Mediterranean by allegedly engaging global passport and citizenship broker Henley & Partners.

The firm pointed out that it has never been approached to comment on the allegations involving the firm by any media organisation in advance.

“We have not therefore had the opportunity to engage with the articles or the ‘evidence’ presented, which has been taken entirely out of context to fit a narrative that does not represent an objective assessment of the situation,” it said.

In a report by Cyprus Mail, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has since said his country should terminate the passport of fugitive financier Low if reports of its existence are verified.

Anastasiades’ country came under global attention after it was alleged that Low, or Jho Low, used its so-called “golden passport” scheme to effectively purchase his citizenship there.

Yesterday, Politis revealed that Low applied for and secured the passport through the government-backed Cyprus Investment Programme, with the alleged endorsement of the country’s Christian Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II.

Until recently, Low had been thought to be hiding out in China and controlling his remaining business interests from various parts of the country.

After his US$1 billion (RM4.15 billion) settlement with the US Justice Department last week, however, a spokesman of Low appeared to taunt authorities by saying he was offered asylum “by a country that acts in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights.”

Low remains wanted by authorities in Malaysia, the US and Singapore.

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