Looking beyond Jho Low

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In his ‘world exclusive’ interview with the Star, Jho Low spent a lot of time talking about his contacts in the Middle-East and how he got to know them during his school and college days.

It sounded like an attempt at damage control.

Anyway, I am not interested in his parties with the celebrities. What do you make of the Wynton Group’s website here?

What I wanted to learn more about was the rationale behind the Terengganu Investment Authority and his links with local politicians. (After all, we already know he is familiar with Taib Mahmud’s son in UBG.)

When the TIA was first set up in Feb 2009, we heard of it in business news reports. It came up with the largest single sukuk issue for the second quarter of 2009, structured as a RM ‘Murabaha’ offering, raising RM5 billion, according to the CPI Financial website. With a coupon rate of 5.75 per cent, this worked out to an annual interest equivalent of RM287.5 million annually, according to the Edge weekly (26 July 2010).

The bonds are guaranteed by the Malaysian government, according to Bloomberg.  AmInvestment Bank was hired as the lead arranger.

TIA was widely described as a ‘sovereign wealth fund’.

An analyst was quoted in Bloomberg as saying:

“To my knowledge, wealth funds manage the wealth of the state or country, not the debt,” said Sani Hamid, a director of wealth management at Financial Alliance Pte, a Singapore-based financial advisory firm. “Development projects don’t guarantee returns because three’s a social angle to it; you can’t maximize profits on development projects.”

Asia Sentinel reported that Terengganu had recorded a first in setting up a sovereign wealth fund, but questioned why the state would want to borrow money for the fund when it had annual oil revenues of its own.

Other questions were also asked about the bond issue, which 1MDB CEO Shahrol Halmi responded to in an illuminating Edge report reproduced on the 1MDB website.

The TIA morphed into 1MDB after what is believed to have been a tussle over control of the TIA. Jho Low denies any involvement with 1MDB and the Sungai Besi land deal. The Star had reported in January that “Low was in fact instrumental in driving TIA during its formative stage; he continues to play a role in 1MDB, particularly in wooing the Arabs to part with the money to invest in the country”.

Meanwhile, the Edge weekly (26 July) reports that 1MDB is now seeking a further RM5 billion bridging loan in two tranches of RM3 billion and RM2 billion, to finance future projects. This may not carry a government guarantee, though 1MDB itself is a government-backed entity.

1MDB has already entered into a RM2.5 billion joint-venture fund with PetroSaudi International.

Other future 1MDB projects talked about, include:

  • the Sungai Besi land development with a Qatar partner (“By right… the government or its entities should be in the driver’s seat and the projects should not be parceled out through joint ventures or other forms of collaboration,” said the Edge, ‘Frankly Speaking’, 5 July 2010);
  • energy-intensive projects in Sarawak with State Grid Corp of China worth RM11 billion in economic value (including RM6-8 billion in large aluminium smelters and three dams).
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Lez Leslie
Lez Leslie
7 Aug 2010 5.20pm

Jho Low has not cheated anyone. His life style is his business. Why are we so jealous of his image as a jet setter and a playboy. We should be proud one of our sons is hitting the headline which many can only dream about!

Pearlie White
Pearlie White
7 Aug 2010 10.47am

The interview is done by The Star. So you can expect that 50% of the content is set to suit MCA.

Anil should conduct the interview himself to be impartial.

ck
ck
5 Aug 2010 9.02pm

Brilliant demostration of past slogan of MALAYSIAN BOLEH financed by present WANG MALAYSIAN (One Malaysia).
Am really proud of you mate.Wondering if you could spare your countryman a fiver for a pint of larger this coming birthday.Seriously, Mr Low well done, and keep up the good work. Btw any job vacancy at your place??? Really, just a decent paying job man.I am running out of sugar for my daily cup of tea, and low on petrol in my proton.

Pak Itam
Pak Itam
3 Aug 2010 6.27pm

some guys have all the luck.. The rest just get to be jealous!

layman
layman
2 Aug 2010 10.22pm

some guys have all the luck.. lol

Jey
Jey
2 Aug 2010 1.36am

The Wynton website looked like a recently setup “proxy” website for some “proxy” business dealings. Its empty of any legitimate operations and looks more of a charade than anything.

The Money Lender
The Money Lender
1 Aug 2010 10.02pm

If it is his money…so be it..

But the biggest culprits this and last century have been bankers….in particular investment bankers.

Something is not right here. On one end partying … out in the Riviera like there is no tomorrow and on the other end, a home owner out in Manjung Malaysia being declared a bankrupt because he cant get a job and therefore cannot keep up with his house payments.

Both are connected. An equal world is ideal. But it wont happen on planet Earth.

Chauncey Gardener
Chauncey Gardener
1 Aug 2010 2.27pm

The Wynton Group website says almost nothing at all.

Bigjoe
Bigjoe
1 Aug 2010 2.11pm

… he said he managed assets of 1B made from private equity and financing. I know well-known names that manages asset of bigger and similar sizes and they don’t have the kind of money to burn. In the PE/Finance fund management world 1B is decent but don’t give you the kind of money to burn that he has been doing..

LBJ
LBJ
1 Aug 2010 1.50pm

A Malaysian Madoff in the making???

aca
aca
1 Aug 2010 1.25pm

there are stories that fat commission was paid on the RM5.0b raised. some even quoted at a mind boggling figure… any truth to it? I really hope its just rumours…

snow
snow
1 Aug 2010 12.14pm

I certainly hope the youth of today do not follow this chap’s partying ways. Blatant use of money, power to buy publicity. See how drunk they are. Paris Hilton’s history and current inhibitions are not desirable for our youths.

pala richies
pala richies
1 Aug 2010 11.01am

I believe Jho underestimates some Malaysians. His interviewed would satisfy the curious of main-stream-media readership, but not those blogs readership. First, he is Malaysian; Second, he spends like m’sian politician; Third, he is too filthy rich and too brilliant, not to be known by Malaysian or any international business entity; Fourth, if you want to clear the air, start off with where it most suspicious! The link of UBG and sorts, nothing or sorts were told during interview, is more like chit-chat and coffee-talk; Fifth, “being at the right place at the right time”- that’s all it need to make… Read more »

K S Ong
1 Aug 2010 9.17am

From Wynton Group’s site, words like ‘networking’, ‘movers and shakers’, and ‘symbiotic’ point towards favouritism, cronyism and …
Other than ‘know who’, I don’t think it has anything which other similar outfits cannot provide, but that’s the reality of business where to maximize profits, ‘the end justifies the means’.

It is all about opportunism – opportunities and opportunists.

Liaw Khien Hwa
1 Aug 2010 8.47am

he is more effective than APCO.

wandereAUS
wandereAUS
1 Aug 2010 8.32am

To comment on his bloke only leaves a bad taste in the mouth…perhaps, let the compliments come Gerakan k…similiar sort of mentality, “opportunist
boots polisher”

Pearl
Pearl
1 Aug 2010 7.45am

It’s his life, Mr. Anil.

He can do whatever he likes, as long he is spending his own money, Mr. Anil.

Param
Param
7 Aug 2010 10.48am
Reply to  Pearl

How are you so sure that he is spending his own money?

We have seen many such cases before, especailly from our politicians and theirwives/consorts.

Amir
Amir
7 Aug 2010 10.55am
Reply to  Pearl

There are allegations that Low may be acting as a front man for Umno-BN cronies…. Given his close association with senior Umno personalities, and the sordid ‘tradition’ of cronyism in Malaysia, this is a distinct possibility that warrants closer scrutiny.

In particular, his close association with the … Taib Mahmud family should be enough to set alarm bells ringing.

curious
curious
1 Aug 2010 12.04am

Just too lazy for the comments…Anil, are you spinning or fishing for clues? Remember Rosmah,those Hollywood celebreties and then come back to Jho Low. Doesn’t it concludes everything?

…Where does the popping of champaigne comes from? Malaysian made ma…5.75%p.a. “what a whopping one?” Now he claims that he’s helping Malaysia to be in the picture. Trust him or me?