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TOWERS OF SECRECY
Jho Low, Well Connected in Malaysia, Has an Appetite for New York
In early 2010, a young Malaysian financier named Jho Low
began making some very expensive real estate deals in the
First, a shell company connected to Mr. Low,
purchased a $23.98 million apartment in the Park Laurel
condominiums in Manhattan. Three years later, that shell
company sold the condo to another shell company, this one
controlled by someone even more prominent in Malaysia:
A similar transaction was playing out on the other side of
the country. Mr. Low bought a contemporary mansion in
Beverly Hills for $17.5 million, then turned around and
sold it, once again to the prime minister’s stepson.
Mr. Low also went shopping at the Time Warner Center condominiumsoverlooking Central Park. He toured a
76th-floor penthouse, once home to the celebrity couple
Jay Z and Beyoncé, then in early 2011 used yet another
shell company to buy it for $30.55 million, one of the highest
prices ever in the building.
At the time, Mr. Low said he represented a group of investors,
according to two people with direct knowledge of the transaction.
Mr. Low recently told The New York Times that he had not
purchased the penthouse for investors, and that it was owned
by his family’s trust.
One thing is clear: As with nearly two-thirds of the apartments
at the Time Warner Center, a dark-glass symbol of New York’s l
uxury condominium boom, the people behind Penthouse 76B
cannot be found in any public real estate records. The trail ends
with Jho Low.
Mr. Low, 33, is a skillful, and more
than occasionally flamboyant,
iteration of the sort of operative
essential to the economy of the global superrich. Just as many of the
wealthy use shell companies to keep
the movement of money opaque, they
also use people like Mr. Low. Whether shopping for new business opportunities
or real estate, he has often done so
on behalf of investors or, as he likes
to say, friends. Whether the money belongs to others or is his own,
the lines are frequently blurry, the identity of the buyer elusive.
Mr. Low’s lavish spending has raised eyebrows and questions from
Kuala Lumpur to New York, where he has made a boldface name for himself as a “whale” at clubs like the Pink Elephant and 1Oak.
The New York Post once called him “the mystery man of city
club scene,” adding, “Speculation is brewing over where Low is
getting his money from.”
One answer resides at least indirectly in his relationship, going back
to his school days in London, with the family of Malaysia’s prime
minister, Najib Razak. Mr. Low has played an important role in
bringing Middle Eastern money into numerous deals involving
the Malaysian government, and he helped set up, and has
continued to advise, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund that the
prime minister oversees.
Now, that relationship has become part of an uproar gathering
around Mr. Najib and threatening his already shaky hold on
power. In Parliament, in political cartoons and in social media,
Mr. Najib’s critics tend to argue that he is too close to Mr. Low.
Much of the concern, even in Mr. Najib’s own long-ruling party,
More broadly, though, the prime minister’s trappings of wealth
the diamond jewelry, the collection of extravagantly costly
Hermès Birkin bags — have become a focus of Malaysians’
rising unease with their government’s institutionalized culture of patronage and graft.
“We are very concerned,” Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a member of Malaysian royalty and an independent-minded elder statesman of Mr. Najib’s party, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur last summer. “We want people of integrity to be up there.”
Increasingly, the glare turns to Mr. Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, and so to Mr. Aziz’s friendship with Mr. Low. With Mr. Low’s help, Mr. Aziz runs a Hollywood company that produced the films “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dumb and Dumber To.” He
has spent tens of millions more on the homes in Manhattan
and Beverly Hills, transactions that involved Mr. Low, The
“That’s a lot of money,” Sivarasa Rasiah, an opposition
lawmaker, said of Mr. Aziz’s spending. He added, “Every
U.S. report on him talks about family wealth. Family who?”
While Mr. Aziz has previously said he is personally wealthy,
he declined to explain how he had acquired his money. Mr.
Najib’s office, in a statement, said, “The prime minister does
not track how much Mr. Aziz earns or how such earnings are
reinvested.” As for the prime minister himself, the statement
said he had “received inheritance.”
In a statement provided by a spokesman, Mr. Low, whose full
name is Low Taek Jho, said he “is a friend of Mr. Riza Aziz and
his family.” His real estate transactions with Mr. Aziz were made
“on an arm’s-length basis,” he said, adding that he had never
purchased real estate in the United States for the prime minister’s
family or “engaged in any wrongful conduct regarding any financial matters for the prime minister and his family.”
At the Time Warner Center, The Times found, the 76th-floor
penthouse, purchased through a shell company called 80
Columbus Circle (NYC) L.L.C., is one of at least a dozen that
can be traced to people with close ties to current or former
high-ranking foreign officials, or to the officials themselves.
According to one member of the condominium board there,
while the board understood that the penthouse had been bought
for investors, it did not ascertain their identities. At the
Park Laurel, where Mr. Najib’s stepson owns, the board did
not respond to questions about whether it had examined the
financing of the purchase.
In fact, in-depth scrutiny of real estate deals is not required.
International anticorruption organizations have criticized this
lack of inquiry — not just by real estate brokers and condo boards,
but by banks, lawyers and the federal government.
“People should ask the questions, ‘Why is it that this individual
is bringing in millions of dollars into America, and how was it
acquired?’” said Charmian Gooch, co-founder of Global Witness,
a nongovernmental organization that works against corruption
around the world.
THE MAKING OF A FINANCIER
To mention Mr. Low in Malaysia is to conjure the image of a
baby-faced young man in rimless glasses and a loose black
V-neck, holding a magnum of Cristal and surrounded by
celebrities. But if he is sometimes derided as a tabloid party
boy who once flew a group of bottle girls from New York to
Malaysia, the reality is that the clubbing life, for Mr. Low,
was actually a way to build a booming business managing
money for his friends.
“I think a relationship with an investor is not just about
managing their money well,” he said in an extensive
interview with The Star, a Malaysian newspaper, in 2010.
“Although it is not in my job scope, but if my friend says
he wants a flight urgently to somewhere or he wants a dinner
reservation at a well-known place, I’ll do my best to make it
happen.” He also said, “I am usually the concierge service
that arranges everything, and thus my name is all over the place.”
Around George Town, on Penang Island, where Jho grew up,
the Lows were seen as a family of somewhat deflated affluence,
according to several businessmen who have known them for
years. The father, Larry, was an executive for an investment
holding company called MWE Holdings, but he split with his
partner in the mid-1990s and faded from the local business
scene. Still only a teenager, Jho, the youngest of three children,
emerged as the family’s best hope for the future.
There was money for education abroad, and in London, while
attending the ancient and elite Harrow school, Mr. Low became
friends with Mr. Najib’s stepson, Mr. Aziz, who was studying at
the London School of Economics. He also grew close to Mr. Aziz’s
mother, Rosmah Mansor, who stayed for months at a time in an
apartment she kept there.
In college, at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,
Mr. Low kept up his ties back home by running a Malaysian
student group. But he also came to know the children of prominent Jordanian and Kuwaiti families. Even before graduating, he was
managing money for what he later described as “my family and
close Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian friends.”
After college, many of his early business deals were based in
Malaysia — helping a Kuwaiti bank purchase a high-rise complex
called the Oval, and bringing Middle Eastern money into the
country to finance a commercial zone in the south and a new
financial district in the capital. By 2007, he had formed an
investment group that included a Malaysian prince, a Kuwaiti
sheikh and a friend from the United Arab Emirates who went
on to become ambassador to the United States and Mexico.
Two years later, he was pitching his idea for a Malaysian sovereign
wealth fund. His plan was to invest public money for the public good through a fund tied to one of the country’s oil-producing states, and
so he began wooing the sultan of Terengganu, who was also
Malaysia’s king under the nation’s rotating monarchy.
It was all about making connections, making friends. Success,
he told The Star, is “attributable to being at the right place and
right time and meeting the right people coupled with a trusting relationship.”
In April 2009, those ingredients all came together for Mr. Low.
The stepfather of his friend Mr. Aziz became prime minister of
A POLITICAL LEGACY
Mr. Najib, 61, has a deep pedigree in Malaysian politics.
His father, Tun Razak, was the country’s second prime minister,
in the 1970s. His uncle was its third. His cousin is now defense
Mr. Najib has risen through the political ranks: member of
Parliament at 23; chief minister of his home state; minister
of education, defense and finance; and deputy prime minister.
The family is tightly intertwined with Malaysia’s leading political
party, the United Malays National Organization, whose long hold
on power owes much to its close relationship with the country’s
business elite. That closeness, in turn, has helped engender a
culture of corruption, said Zaid Ibrahim, a former minister of
legal affairs and judicial reform who served alongside Mr. Najib.
Inflated government contracts are the norm, widely accepted
because recipients simply turn around and donate to the party,
“You know why corruption is very high in Malaysia?” he said.
“It’s because the party in power is synonymous with the state.”
That point was underscored in the State Department’s 2010 human rights report, which said, “Officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity” and noted “a broadly held perception of widespread corruption and cronyism within the governing coalition and in government institutions.”
There have been no proven corruption allegations against Mr. Najib. However,
he has been dogged by questions, seized upon by his political
opponents, stemming from a long-running bribery inquiry in
France involving submarines he commissioned from a French
company while he was defense minister.
The French national police found documents showing that the
submarine company paid more than $100 million to a company
controlled by one of Mr. Najib’s close associates. In addition,
one police document says, without elaboration, that Mr. Najib
demanded money in exchange for a 2001 meeting in Paris.
Malaysian officials said the payments to the company controlled
by Mr. Najib’s associate were for “support and coordination
services”; the prime minister’s office said he received no
payments and did not demand any.
Mr. Najib, who earns an annual salary of about $100,000
as prime minister, has been battered by news media reports
of his wife’s lavish spending. A notable episode involved the
Birkin bags: A series of photos that went viral on social media
in Malaysia showed Ms. Rosmah holding at least nine of the
purses. They typically cost between $9,000 and $150,000 apiece.
Ariff Sabri, an aide to Mr. Najib
from 2000 to 2004 who joined the opposition in 2012, said the prime
minister kept “piles and piles” of
ringgit bills stacked in his safe. And
invoices and other documents
obtained by The Times show
millions of dollars in jewelry
ordered for Ms. Rosmah in
Hong Kong in 2008 and 2009
— diamond and emerald rings,
and diamond, emerald and ruby bracelets.
The prime minister’s office said, “Neither any money spent on
travel, nor any jewelry purchases, nor the alleged contents of
any safes are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s
position, responsibilities and legacy family assets.”
For some people who have long known Mr. Najib, the lavish
lifestyle that appeared to evolve with his second marriage, to
Ms. Rosmah in 1987, has been a surprising — even dismaying
— turn for a modest technocrat.
Last year, Mr. Najib’s younger brother, Nazir, wrote a newspaper columnthat tacitly jabbed at the current prime minister by
praising the frugality of their father, a career government
official who died in office at age 53.
When he and his brothers had asked for a swimming pool
at the prime minister’s residence, Mr. Nazir wrote, “My father
made it abundantly clear that while Seri Taman may be our
home, the house belonged to the government and, hence, to
the people. Anything spent on it would have to come from
public funds, and there was no way he was going to allow the
state coffers to be depleted on something as frivolous as a
swimming pool. ‘What will the people think?’ he thundered.”
Mr. Low’s business romance with Malaysia’s king, it turned out,
was short lived. But the new prime minister, Mr. Najib, was
happy to have a way to benefit the nation writ large, and the
sovereign wealth fund soon morphed into a new one, called
1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Mr. Najib became chairman of
the board of advisers of 1MDB,
which calls itself a “strategic
development company.” A close
Penang friend of Mr. Low’s father
became a director, and two
of Mr. Low’s friends joined the
staff. Mr. Low
himself was not given an official role,
but he is regularly consulted on
its actions, according to three people who have had regular dealings
with 1MDB but requested anonymity to preserve relationships.
In his statement to The Times, Mr. Low played down his role in
1MDB, saying that “from time to time and without receiving compensation,” he has given his views on various matters.
While Mr. Low has no official position with the fund, in 2012 it
emerged in British court documents that he had presented a
letter of support from 1MDB in his investors’ unsuccessful bid
for the hotel group that includes Claridge’s. He also said the
financing would be fully underwritten by Malaysian government investment funds, according to the documents.
Mr. Low and 1MDB also had dealings with an oil-drilling
company called PetroSaudi International that had been
founded by a Saudi businessman and a Saudi prince.
Soon after its creation, 1MDB invested $1 billion in a joint
venture with PetroSaudi. A few months later, a PetroSaudi
subsidiary purchased a Malaysian holding company, UBG, in
which Mr. Low and his investors held a substantial stake,
according to public records. News media reports did not say so,
but corporate records reviewed by The Times show that a
director of the PetroSaudi subsidiary was a close friend of
Mr. Low named Geh Choh Hun.
PetroSaudi has told the Malaysian press that the deals were
unrelated. And both men said Mr. Geh was not representing
Mr. Low’s interest in the deal.
By 2011, 1MDB pulled out of the PetroSaudi joint venture.
The proceeds, however, were not immediately returned to
Malaysia. Instead, they ended up in a Cayman Islands company
and managed by an investment firm that 1MDB only
recently identified. The money was recently returned to
1MDB, the fund has said.
The Caymans maneuver has stirred an outcry even within
Mr. Najib’s own party. “I don’t understand why the
government carries on with 1MDB,” Daim Zainuddin,
a former finance minister, said in an interview. “To me,
it’s quite frightening because you don’t know what
they’re doing,” he said, adding, “Why must government
money be parked?”
There have been other criticisms as well — that the fund
has taken on large amounts of debt and that some of its
investments have benefited large donors to Mr. Najib’s party.
The prime minister’s office said that 1MDB was run by
professional managers, and that many blue-chip companies
do business with funds registered in the Caymans.
The criticisms, it added, “need to be examined for
A year ago, the accounting firm KPMG refused to sign
off on 1MDB’s financials, according to Nur Jazlan Mohamed,
chairman of Parliament’s audit committee. KPMG declined to c
omment for this article. The fund, which described the parting
as amicable, found a new auditor: Deloitte.
Mr. Nur Jazlan, a member of Mr. Najib’s party, said the
Deloitte blessing gave him comfort. “They wouldn’t sanction
the accounts if there was a problem,” he said. Still, he
acknowledged that “conditions are fertile” for fraud, given
the scant oversight of 1MDB.
“Yes, they make money, but should they make more money?”
Mr. Nur Jazlan said. Yet as long as 1MDB shows a profit,
he added, it is unlikely that there will be any serious inquiry
into whether money went missing. “Money makes money,”
he said. “You can basically hide a lot of things in there as well.
Then, the party doing scrutiny of management is the board,
which is appointed by who? And chaired by who?
The prime minister.”
LUXURY HOME PURCHASES
The year before Mr. Low showed up at the Time Warner
Center, the New York news media reported the $23.98 million
purchase of an apartment in the Park Laurel, a few blocks away
on West 63rd Street.
The purchase, the reports said, had been made by a shell
company on behalf of two residents of Switzerland —
Peter Edward Chadney and Simone Cécile von Graffenried
Simperl. Those reports were mistaken. The Swiss “buyers”
were actually Rothschild bankers. The real party behind the
shell company was Mr. Low, whose spokesman acknowledged
to The Times that the condo had been bought by a trust
benefiting his family.
Nearly three years later, the Lows sold it to Mr. Aziz’s shell
company for $33.5 million in cash — a 40 percent appreciation.
The sale involved a string of shell companies. In one spot
on the property transfer, Mr. Aziz is listed as the “sole director”
of Sorcem Investments, a British Virgin Islands company that
was behind the shell company that bought the Park Laurel condo.
The transfer of the Beverly Hills house from Mr. Low to
Mr. Aziz was even more opaque.
After Mr. Low’s shell company, 912 North Hillcrest Road
(BH) L.L.C., paid $17.5 million for the home — 11,573
square feet, with five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, private
gardens and a glowing pyramid in the reflecting pool —
his trust sold ownership of that shell company to a corporate
entity controlled by Mr. Aziz, both men acknowledged to
Legally, however, the property itself never changed hands.
The same shell company appears as owner in the public
property records of Los Angeles County. It is as if nothing
Mr. Aziz confirmed that he owned the New York condo as
well as the Beverly Hills house, which is undergoing extensive
Mr. Low said the transactions were done at fair market value.
He sold the Beverly Hills property, he said, because he had
found another nearby. That house cost $39 million.
Back in New York, the Time Warner Center was a natural
destination because friends of Mr. Low already owned
apartments there. There was also a prominent Malaysian —
the brother of Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary, a major beneficiary
of government contracts and a generous backer of Mr. Najib’s
With the penthouses on the top five floors of the north tower
came wraparound views — the Catskills far off to the northwest,
the Statue of Liberty just beyond the southern tip of Manhattan,
and Central Park right next door. Mr. Low went to view
Penthouse 76B with a retinue of women and told people
involved in the deal that he would pay $30.55 million —
all cash, as in his other real estate purchases.
One member of the condominium board and another
person with direct knowledge of the deal said they believed
that Mr. Low was buying for a group of investors. One of
them recalled Mr. Low saying that a main investor was the
family of Prime Minister Najib.
In its statement to The Times, the prime minister’s office
said Mr. Najib had no financial interest or any agreement
related to any Time Warner condominiums.
Mr. Low's statement said that the condo was owned by his
family’s trust and that he and other family members
“stay there from time to time when they are in New York.”
The professionals who helped Mr. Low buy the Time Warner
condo included the same Rothschild bankers as in the Park
Laurel condo transaction, as well as John Opar, a lawyer at
Shearman & Sterling, who did not respond to inquiries. One
of the bankers, Ms. Simperl, said she could not discuss the
client, who in the same time period briefly owned a $33
million condo at the Trump International, across the street
from the Time Warner Center.
Janice Chang, the broker the Douglas Elliman firm identified
as representing the buyer, said, “We work with a lot of people;
sometimes we know them and sometimes we don’t.”
She added: “They’re very confidential. We try not to pry.”
HELLO TO HOLLYWOOD
Mr. Aziz’s film company, Red Granite Pictures, was largely
unheard-of when it took over the financing of “The Wolf of
Wall Street,” announcing its intentions with a party at the
2011 Cannes Film Festival, complete with a fireworks
extravaganza and concert by Kanye West. The Hollywood
Reporter called it “an audacious hello to the movie industry.”
Neither of its founders had the kind of résumé that reflected
the experience, or the income, to bankroll a movie company.
Mr. Aziz, now 38, had been a junior-level banker at HSBC.
His partner, Joey McFarland, was a small-time investor from
Kentucky whose entertainment-business apprenticeship
included booking paid party appearances for celebrities
like Ms. Hilton.
All of which led to a certain amount of curiosity in Hollywood
about who was financing Red Granite.
Over time, the accounts seemed to change.
Interviewing a job candidate early on, Mr. Aziz said the
financing came from “sovereign wealth,” according to two
people with knowledge of the conversation.
When Irwin Winkler, an executive producer of “The Wolf
of Wall Street” inquired, he was told that Red Granite had
“a backer in Malaysia,” he recalled in an interview. He was
introduced to the backer, and it was Mr. Low. “He’s the face,
as far as I could see, of the financing,” Mr. Winkler said.
At the film’s December 2013 premiere party at the Roseland
Ballroom in New York, several people said, Mr. Low had been
introduced to them as the financier. He is thanked in the
The Malaysian explanations ended about a year ago, after
Red Granite’s financing became the subject of persistent
questions, especially from The Sarawak Report, a London-
based news site that focuses on Malaysia.
Mr. Low says he has not put money into Red Granite or its
films. And last summer, a new money man emerged. In an
interview with The Times for an article on Red Granite,
Mr. Aziz said the principal backer was Mohamed Ahmed
Badawy al-Husseiny, chief executive of an Abu Dhabi
government-owned company, Aabar Investments, that has
done deals with Mr. Low. Mr. Aziz noted that “The Wolf of
Wall Street” had received New York tax breaks. He said there
were other investors, but recently declined to identify them.
“There is no Malaysian money” in Red Granite’s films, he said.
Even so, both Mr. Low and Mr. Husseiny have been involved
with Malaysian government funds, including 1MDB.
Mr. Husseiny’s company, Aabar, had been a partner with
Mr. Low in the failed Claridge’s bid that was backed by
1MDB. Aabar has also done business with affiliates of a
company called SRC International, which was spun off
from 1MDB and is now owned by the Ministry of Finance.
Aabar also did a deal with a company outside Malaysia
that SRC had helped create, according to two people involved
with the transaction. Money from that deal was then set
aside to be paid out to other corporate entities. That money
was described as consulting fees for Mr. Husseiny and
Mr. Low, the people involved said. Similar arrangements
existed in other SRC deals, they said they were told by
people at SRC.
SRC’s managing director, a friend of Mr. Low named
Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, said that to the best of his knowledge,
neither Mr. Low nor Mr. Husseiny had received fees from
deals involving SRC or its affiliates. Mr. Low said that he
had not consulted for SRC International Sdn Bhd, the
In a response from his lawyer, Mr. Husseiny did not
answer questions about SRC. His investment in Red Granite,
he said, was “personal money.”
DISCONTENT AT HOME
Just before Christmas, while visiting Hawaii, Mr. Najib
played golf with one of his international allies —
It was “golf diplomacy,” the prime minister said when
he was criticized in Malaysia for golfing while the country
suffered through its worst flooding in many years.
It was also the continuation of Mr. Najib’s long effort to
draw his country closer to Washington. Earlier last year,
Mr. Obama made an official visit to Malaysia, the first by
an American president since 1966. Afterward, he and
Mr. Najib said they would “elevate” relations to a
“comprehensive partnership” of political and
A White House spokesman did not respond to inquiries
about the president’s relationship with Mr. Najib.
Even as Mr. Najib’s diplomatic standing has risen —
Malaysia was recently elected to a two-year seat on the
United Nations Security Council — his political star
has been falling back home.
Mr. Najib has positioned himself as a forward-looking
moderate. Yet on issues ranging from the freedom of
political speech to longstanding laws that favor the Malay
majority over the country's ethnic minorities, he has not
made good on promised reforms that would run afoul of
his more conservative opponents. One long-running case
that has rankled critics at home and abroad is his government’s prosecution of a leading opposition figure, Anwar Ibrahim,
on sodomy charges; a ruling on Mr. Anwar’s appealis
expected any day.
In the 2013 elections, the opposition won the popular vote
for the first time in more than four decades. Mr. Najib kept
his job only because the allocation of seats in Parliament
was weighted to favor rural areas, where his party’s coalition
was strong. Within hours of the announcement, crowds
filled the streets of Kuala Lumpur in protest.
One of the toughest areas for Mr. Najib’s party was
Mr. Low’s home state, Penang.
In the weeks leading up to the vote, Mr. Low helped a
newly formed group, the 1Malaysia Penang Welfare Club.
The club gave out free food and beer, as well as “lucky draw” t
ickets for bicycles and other prizes, and Mr. Low flew in
musicians like Busta Rhymes and Ludacris for what was
described as a nonpolitical concert.
The club’s leader was Mr. Low’s close friend, Mr. Geh,
who said the mission of the group was charity. But o
pposition figures in Penang said the prizes and concert
were aimed at recruiting votes for Mr. Najib’s party.
“Jho wanted to show that he could call the shots in Penang,”
said Lim Guan Eng, the chief minister and an opposition
In the end, the governing party won only a quarter of the
parliamentary races in Penang, and Mr. Lim was re-elected.
Since then, Mr. Najib’s standing has grown only more
precarious, as criticism has spread from the opposition
to factions of his own party.
Over the summer, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad,
who led the country for 22 years and retains considerable
influence, publicly denounced Mr. Najib and called on him
to reform 1MDB. And while speculation that Mr. Najib would
be pushed out at the annual party congress in November proved unfounded, weeks later, an official from his party called for a
police investigation of 1MDB and said he would file a complaint
against the prime minister if no action was taken.
In January, 1MDB officials responded to the controversy by appointing a new president, a banker named Arul Kanda. The appointment created its own flurry of questions.
In 2008, as Mr. Low was working to bring Middle Eastern money to Malaysia, he helped a Malaysian bank, RHB Capital, raise money from the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, where Mr. Arul soon
became an executive. The next year, Mr. Arul joined a board
In mid-January, the Malaysian press reported that Mr. Arul said
that any insinuations about connections to “certain individuals”
were unfair. “My C.V. should speak for itself,” he said.
AN EVOLVING IMAGE
Last September, Mr. Najib traveled to the United States for
the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. He and
his wife usually stay at the Time Warner Center when they
are in New York, and they did so this time as well — at the
Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Mr. Low was in town, too — for a Social Good Summit
sponsored by his foundation, featuring speakers like Melinda
Gates, Ed Norton and Alicia Keys — and he and the
prime minister engaged in a bit of a pas de deux at the
Mandarin Oriental: Mr. Najib arrived in the hotel lobby
with his entourage and went upstairs; within minutes,
Mr. Low followed for what he later described as a
“courtesy social call.” Less than 10 minutes later,
the two men came downstairs and took separate exits
from the building.
Lately, Mr. Low has been emphasizing that he is
investing his family’s money and no longer managing
money for investors and friends.
He has been broadening his family’s business portfolio,
making high-profile deals with the Abu Dhabi government
and other Middle Eastern investors. In 2012, his family joined
a group that bought EMI Music Publishing for $2.2 billion,
and the next year, it was a principal investor in the $660
million purchase of the Park Lane Hotel in New York.
After portraying himself for years as a friend of people with
money — and saying in the 2010 interview with The Star that
he came from a “fairly O.K. family” — he has started to say
that he was born with it himself. Last fall, he did an interview
with The Wall Street Journal, which reported that his
grandfather had made a fortune in mining and liquor
investments in Thailand. The Journal’s account —
which said the Low family had a $1.75 billion fortune and
called Mr. Low a “scion” — was immediately picked up in Malaysia.
As befits the modern scion, Mr. Low has lately begun trading
in another asset class: contemporary art. His entry into the
art market has generated buzz both for his youth and for the
fact that he has become such a significant force so fast.
Last summer, he made the ARTnews list of the world’s 200
The art market is even more opaque than real estate, so that
list is based not on actual sales data but on the assessments of
people in the industry who know about collectors’ holdings.
According to two people familiar with Mr. Low’s activities in
the art world, though, he has taken a liking to pop art.
Bertepik tepik beb..!
Mana pergi jurucakap Rahman
Dahlan, Saleh Keruak, Azalina
dan yang sekutu dengannya?
Dah bisu ke?
Lu Fikir La Sendiri!!!