SINGAPORE (April 29): His portfolio of coveted real estate includes a plush condominium and towering penthouse in New York, a mansion in Beverly Hills and a "high rise lair" in Hong Kong.
And in Singapore, Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho has snapped up two prized apartments for a cool S$54 million (RM145.4 million).
The Penang-born entrepreneur -- whose name has repeatedly popped up in recent news reports on the controversy involving Malaysia's state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) -- picked up two units at the posh TwentyOne Angullia Park, including a sprawling triplex penthouse, in June 2013.
The 36-storey, 54-unit tower along exclusive Orchard Boulevard is in the vicinity of luxury hotels St Regis and Four Seasons and close to the Orchard shopping strip.
Both the properties, one above the other, were purchased on June 19, 2013, by Angullia Park (Singapore) Ltd, according to records. The project, developed by China Sonangol Land, was completed in the middle of last year.
Angullia Park (Singapore), a shell company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, is understood to be linked to 33-year-old Mr Low.
The 7,718 sq ft triplex penthouse -- one of two penthouses at TwentyOne Angullia Park (the other is held by the developer) -- cost Mr Low some S$42.9 million, or a heady S$5,560 per sq ft, making it one of the priciest properties sold in Singapore. After Hong Kong, the Republic now has Asia's most expensive luxury homes.
Mr Low bought the other unit, a three-bedroom 2,260 sq ft condominium, for S$11.5 million or S$5,099 per sq foot. The other buyers of the same project -- so far nine units have been sold -- are reportedly Indonesians, two of whom are Singapore permanent residents, a family from Monaco and an Australian-turned-Singapore citizen.
Hong Kong-based Mr Low, better known as Jho Low, who helms private equity firm Jynwel Capital, has been in the news back in Malaysia and abroad for his alleged links to 1MDB, a state-controlled firm wobbling on RM42 billion (S$15.7 billion) debt and crippled by poor cash flow, which has crimped its debt repayment ability.
Despite Mr Low's efforts through several media interviews abroad to clear his name and distance himself from 1MDB -- he says he is being made a scapegoat for 1MDB's debt woes and losses - the allegations have continued to pour in. The attacks and exposes on 1MDB from the media and opposition politicians are taking place amid an audit by Malaysia's Auditor General to verify 1MDB's accounts.
Following a recent expose by whistle blower site Sarawak Report that Swiss private bank BSI Singapore had informed Singapore authorities that documents related to 1MDB's account in BSI were "false bank statements", 1MDB told the media that it will not comment on any "speculation and market rumours".
In March, the Malaysian government said that 1MDB was keeping a portion or US$1.103 billion (RM3.92) of its funds in BSI Singapore after they were redeemed from an investment in Cayman Islands. Citing evidence obtained from investigations by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Sarawak Report also alleged that Mr Low held numerous accounts at BSI Singapore.
When contacted, a MAS spokesman replied that its previous response issued just over a month ago still holds -- that it would assist Malaysian authorities within the full ambit of the law in Malaysia's probe into 1MDB and that it has engaged the relevant financial institutions. -- The Business Times
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