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High Court sets May 5 for case management of IRB's RM68m tax arrears suit against Jho Low's right-hand man 'Fat Eric'

KUALA LUMPUR (April 13): The High Court has set May 5 for the next case management of the Inland Revenue Board's (IRB) RM68 million suit against Jho Low's right-hand man Eric Tan Kim Loong, aka "Fat Eric", for tax arrears from 2010 to 2013.

In an e-review today before deputy registrar Farah Shuhada Ramli, lawyers from the IRB asked for the deadline to complete their submissions against Tan.

A source close to the case told theedgemarkets.com that neither Tan nor his lawyer had entered an appearance to date in any of the case management so far since the suit was filed at the beginning of the year.

Tan, who is currently at large, with Taman Pusat Kepong registered as his address, allegedly owes the government RM2.706 million for 2010, RM22.09 million (2011), RM35.479 million (2012) and RM1.538 million (2013) through notices issued on Sept 30, 2020.

The notices were sent to his last known address on Nov 24 last year and there has been no reply, the statement of claim by the Malaysian government said.

"As the defendant had failed to pay the amount owed as stipulated in the notice under Section 103 of the Income Tax Act 1967, a 10% surcharge is imposed on the unpaid amount resulting in the additional charges of RM270,602.18 (2010), RM2,209,094.99 (2011), RM3,547,991.14 and RM153,847.30, are imposed," the statement of claim said.

"The Malaysian government is entitled to get the unpaid assessment taxes that are owed and the additional charges."

It noted that until now, Tan has not paid the outstanding taxes, resulting in the amount increasing to RM67.996 million.

As such, the government is seeking the sum of RM67.996 million and 5% interest from the date of the judgement and costs of the action.

It was previously reported that Tan, a confidante of missing businessman Jho Low — whose real name is Low Taek Jho — had given his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) when he claimed that he did not know the US$681 million "donation" recipient was former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The evidence was revealed during the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial last March, when MACC investigating officer Mohd Hafaz Nazar purportedly recorded Tan's statement in the palace of King Abdullah Abdulaziz in Riyadh on Nov 29, 2015.

Tan was purportedly appointed a nominee of the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince Faisal, Prince Saud and other members of the royal family via a letter dated Aug 3, 2009.

However, subsequent unspecified events later cast doubts on his capacity as their nominee, causing Prince Turki to issue him another letter dated Sept 28, 2015, stating that foreign investments and the establishment of entities such as Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Ltd and Tanore Finance Corp was done based on their instructions, said Tan in his statement to the MACC.

On June 12, 2018, the MACC revealed Tan as the purported signatory of numerous bank accounts overseas through which billions of ringgit that originated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd were laundered.

One of the accounts was for Tanore Finance at Falcon Bank in Singapore, through which an alleged US$681 million was moved to and from Najib's AmBank account.

The authorities have issued warrants of arrest on both Low and Tan.

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