KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The US Justice Department is investigating if fugitive financier Low Taek Jho had any part in financing President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the probe is over a US$100,000 (RM408,850) contribution made via a Larry Davis in 2017 to the Trump campaign for the 2020 presidential election.
US law prohibits foreigners from making contributions, direct or otherwise, to the country’s politicians.
According to the news outlet, the probe is part of the larger DoJ investigation into Low, also known as Jho Low, over his part in the 1MDB global corruption scandal.
This portion of the investigation is related to alleged attempts by Low to dissuade the US from continuing its investigation against him and to aid Beijing’s attempt to extradite one Guo Wengui, a wealthy dissident attempting to seek political asylum in the US.
Court filings by the DoJ categorised Davis as the co-owner of LNS Capital and a “longtime political fundraiser” who allegedly aided Low’s attempts in both cases.
According to public records, Davis withdrew the US$100,000 donation and it was subsequently refunded.
The WSJ also recalled previous reports alluding to Low’s attempts to influence Trump, such as hiring lawyers connected to the latter such as former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Marc Kasowitz, and Bobby Burchfield.
Following the report, Low’s lawyers sent a statement to Malay Mail in which he denied making the donation stated in the report.
They further said this was communicated to the WSJ prior to publication. The WSJ’s report contained a line saying that Low responded to its request for comment almost immediately, but that he rescinded this by saying it was intended for his lawyers.
“Mr Low has never entered into any agreement and/or paid (or authorised payment of) any money to the entities referred to in the Wall Street Journal article as supposedly having made political donations.
“Indeed, Mr Low had never heard of LNS or Larry Davis until referenced by the Wall Street Journal. It is disappointing that the Wall Street Journal chose to ignore legal privilege and publish an email that was clearly sent in error,” Low’s lawyers said.
The DoJ’s investigations into Low over the 1MDB scandal are ongoing.
As part of its overall investigation, it has already secured convictions against former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner on charges of money laundering and conspiracy stemming from the bank’s bond issuance on behalf of 1MDB.
It is also awaiting the extradition of another former Goldman banker, Roger Ng, to face criminal charges there.
The department’s expansive investigation is not limited to finance executives, however, and has caught up Hollywood celebrities, movie producers, and at least one supermodel all linked through Low.
Malaysia has charged Low and his father here with money laundering, believed linked to the 1MDB scandal, and issued arrest warrants against them but both remain at large.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is also on trial for money laundering, corruption, and abuse from the same scandal.