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Jho Low’s Ex-Associate Kee Kok Thiam Is Dead

Jho Low’s Ex-Associate Kee Kok Thiam Is Dead

Kee Kok Thiam allegedly gave away Jho Low’s whereabouts in Macau when questioned by MACC.

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Kee Kok Thiam, a suspect in the 1MDB case who informed local investigators about fugitive Low Taek Jho aka Jho Low’s whereabouts, has died.

Kee’s lawyers from the law firm Valen, Oh & Partners confirmed their client died of a sudden massive stroke in a hospital on 29 May. They urged all parties not to entertain any speculation and to give the family space to grieve his passing.

Malay Mail said a source from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed his passing when asked to verify an obituary for Kee.

A senior official from the commission confirmed receiving news of Kee’s death and said that he was released after being questioned by the commission.

Kee is Jho Low’s former associate who had been deported from Macau less than a month ago for allegedly overstaying his visa.

Malay Mail also came across the obituary that showed a scheduled prayer service for Kee yesterday (30 May), followed by a funeral service today (31 May) at the Kepong Crematorium.

Kee Kok Thiam’s obituary. Image: Malay Mail

How is Kee connected in the 1MDB case?

Kee has been a pivotal witness in the 1MDB case and was a close associate of Low. He has been questioned by the Malaysian authorities when he returned to the country after being deported from Macau.

He confirmed meeting Low and fellow 1MDB fugitives and suspects – Eric Tan Kim Loong, Casey Tang Keng Chee, Geh Choh Heng and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil – in Macau.

On 5 May, Malay Mail reported that an unnamed suspect was brought back with the cooperation of enforcement agencies from abroad, and arrived at KLIA Terminal 2 on 3 May at 3.30am.

This suspect is now believed to be Kee. Upon arrival, the suspect was given notice of an order to be present at MACC’s headquarters in Putrajaya at 10am on 3 May. MACC recorded his statement and searched his house on the same day.

Sources suspected Kee received money originating from funds misappropriated from 1MDB and SRC through the bank account of a company known as Wright Shaw Limited.

The MACC, with the cooperation of the Singapore police’s Commercial Affairs Department, previously seized Wright Shaw Limited’s bank account that contained funds around US$5.2 million (RM23 million).

Investigations showed that he received money from 1MDB’s misappropriated funds through Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M).

MACC said Kee was imprisoned for a month in 2021 by Macau’s immigration body but was released on condition as borders were closed due to Covid-19 regulations.

So far, MACC has recovered 70% of 1MDB’s assets involving the sum of around RM28.3 billion.

Where is Jho Low now?

According to The Star, MACC believes Jho Low is hiding in Macau. However, Bradley Hope, the author who co-wrote Billion Dollar Whale, believes the fugitive financier is under house arrest in Shanghai, China.

Hope said Low spent a lot of time in Macau, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Thailand from 2015 to 2018.

He said Low’s movements were more restricted to the mainland after former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s electoral defeat.

Low Taek Jho aka Jho Low, assumed to be the mastermind of the 1MDB corruption scandal. Image: @jho_low/Twitter

Hope claimed that China is holding Low on a tight leash not only because of negotiations with Malaysia but also because his patron in the spy services, Sun Lijun, was arrested and business partners at China Communications Construction Company were ousted.

It’s believed Jho Low was an intelligence asset but became a liability after Najib was voted out.

Hope added that Low and the other people involved in 1MDB have wives and children and have been constant companions for years.

However, the former 1MDB lawyer Jasmine Loo Ai Swan appeared to have broken from the group.

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