[EXCLUSIVE] 'Businessman arrested in Thailand not linked to Najib, Jho Low'

Tasnim Lokman

KUALA LUMPUR: THE businessman arrested in Thailand by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the SRC International Sdn Bhd case is not linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

A highly-placed investigator told the New Sunday Times that the suspect was not connected to Najib and Jho Low.

He said MACC had opened a new file on the suspect under SRC International, and he would likely be charged with abusing and misappropriating the company’s funds.

SRC International Sdn Bhd is a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

“Despite being related to SRC International, it is a totally different case.

“It needs to be understood that SRC International has a lot of money.

“The suspect has nothing to do with Najib and Jho Low.

“This is totally a different case from the two, but we still categorise him as a person involved in manipulating or misappropriating SRC International’s funds,” he told the New Sunday Times.

The source debunked reports by foreign press claiming that there were connections between the suspect and the former prime minister and fugitive businessman.

However, he said, the suspect was able to assist in the SRC International investigations by MACC, including Najib’s case.

MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki confirmed the arrest, saying that the suspect was remanded for five days before being released on bail.

He said the suspect’s passport had been blacklisted and he would not be able to leave the country.

Azam said the suspect was a Malaysian in his 50s and runs a currency exchange business.

He said the suspect was not an employee of SRC International.

However, Azam did not reveal how much money was involved in this case.

It was reported that the suspect was the prosecution’s key witness in the RM42 million SRC International case against Najib.

The suspect was believed to have fled for Thailand after a probe into the financial scandal began on the orders of the new government after the 14th General Election.

The MACC task force, which had been looking for the suspect since May, tracked him down in Bangkok.

With assistance from the Thai police, the task force persuaded him to return to Malaysia.

It was reported that the businessman would cooperate with investigators and had agreed to be the prosecution's key witness.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Jho Low remain uncertain but authorities believe he is either hiding in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong.

MACC has concluded its investigations into SRC International. It said the probe into the RM2.6 billion was ongoing and 60 per cent complete. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd