As speculation grows about Jho Low’s apparent protected status in China, one US based journalist has revealed the extent to which the fugitive’s 1MDB entanglements extended to working on corrupt foreign policy initiatives in favour of that regime.
Harpers writer Andrew Cockburn has cracked the code in court documents released in the George Higgenbotham case (a Department of Justice official who has pleaded guilty to receiving 1MDB money from Jho Low) to show how the Malaysian became directly involved in lobbying for the extradition of a critic of corruption back to China on dubious charges. Writing to Sarawak Report about his findings Cockburn first detailed the Chinese objective in this matter:
“Protecting the 1MDB’s threatened hoard in the U.S. was not the only item on the conspirators’ to-do list, as indicated by the emergence of China as yet another channel for the looted billions. Comfortably housed in a $67 million apartment in New York’s Sherry-Netherland hotel was a Chinese billionaire, Guo Wenghui. After garnering a fortune in real estate he had fallen out with the regime and fled into exile, whence he was issuing blistering diatribes against the Beijing rulers, who were predictably anxious to get their hands on him. Donald Trump was sympathetic to their plight. “We have to get this criminal out of the country,” he exclaimed to advisers in June, 2017, after Steve Wynn, a casino magnate and major fundraiser whose profits depended heavily on the renewal of casino licenses in Macau, handed him a letter from the Chinese imploring the extradition of Guo. Published reports suggested that national security advisers had quickly talked Trump out of sending the billionaire dissident home to what would have very likely been an executioner’s bullet.
However, explains Cockburn, the matter had not ended there as the journalist has discovered trawling through the court filings on the George Higgenbotham case.
Higgenbotham has been revealed as one of the people recruited by Jho Low in his attempts to influence the Trump administration to drop the DOJ’s charges over 1MDB.
Others paid by Jho Low included the rap star Pras Michel and the chief republican fundraiser, Elliot Broidy, along with his wife Robin, hired by Jho to be his lawyer on the basis of a huge success fee if she could manage to get the DOJ to drop charges against him and 1MDB.
As Sarawak Report revealed in early 2018, the Broidys were hard at work marketing their perceived influence in the Trump administration. For example, attached to an email sent by Robin Broidy in May 18th 2017 to Najib Razak’s hired lobbyist Rick Gates (a colleague of Paul Manafort) were the following comments apparently forwarded from her husband:
“1. We are working with the DoJ to counter the previous Administration’s case against 1MDB in Malaysia. I have put a strategy in place to contact parties both at the DoJ and NSC to find a resolution to this issue.
2. I am in the process of scheduling a meeting with Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand who has the oversight for the Malaysia case. Rachel is the 3rd most senior person at the DoJ. She leads the civil division and the foreign claims settlement division which are both involved in this matter. She is a Trump appointee and viewed as the only true Trump appointee currently at the DoJ. In addition, the National Security Division of the DoJ is involved and President Trump has appointed John Demers (formerly of Boeing) to that position. He is awaiting his confirmation but will be confirmed shortly. I will also meet with John. He will be an instrumental figure in the resolution of the Malaysia issues. Both developments are positive for this situation and slowly the DoJ is moving away from the old guard of Obama attorney at DoJ.”
The Department of Justice has now moved on these matters and Elliot Broidy is presently the subject of numerous investigations. Pras Michel has been charged for his dealings with Jho and George Higgenbotham pleaded guilty in November 2018 to accepting payments to further Jho Low’s attempts to influence outcomes in Washington.
However, in the latest fascinating twist Andrew Cockburn has now revealed how beyond 1MDB these activities included promoting China’s covert foreign agenda:
George Higgenbotham was a justice department attorney whose bank account was one more capillary in the overall bloodstream of corruption. Recruited by Pras, he laundered money destined for Broidy and others. In July, 2017, a month after Trump’s call to deport Guo and its subsequent retraction, Higgenbotham was entrusted with an important mission, summarised in his guilty plea for money-laundering. The official document outlined what happened in coded terms, substituting letters and numbers for proper names. However, I am reliably informed by sources who insist on anonymity that the names and numbers in question refer to Pras (“Co-conspirator A,”) Low (Co-conspirator B”), Guo (“Foreign National 1″) China, (“country Q”) and Broidy (“Person 1.”) Reading the document with this key in mind, we learn how Pras informed Higgenbotham that Low wanted Guo, “a former resident of [China] who was living in the United States on a temporary visa and who had publicly criticized the leadership of [China] to be removed from the United States and sent back to [China.]” Broidy and others, Higgenbotham was told, would use their political connections to have Guo thrown out. Clearly, the initiative got somewhere, for on July, 16, 2017, a Sunday, Higgenbotham, following instructions from Pras, went to the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C. met with the ambassador himself and delivered a simple message that “United States government officials were working on the matter involving [Guo] and there would be additional information in the future concerning the logistics of returning [Guo] to [China.]” Low, so Pras told Higgenbotham afterwards, was happy with how the brief meeting had gone. [See DOJ Factual Basis For Plea]
Cockburn’s stunning new revelations indicate the extent to which Jho Low has now embedded himself in China working to carry out covert dirty work for powerful entities and forwarding apparent state interests on the quiet for that country. The information sits neatly with the entanglements of 1MDB money laundering with Chinese state investments and influence building around major contracts in Malaysia and Kuwait, as recently reported by this site.
Therefore, can anyone be surprised if he considers himself protected and that China is in no hurry to admit he is harboured there or to hand him back? Eventually, the game plan is plainly to overturn GE14 for good, re-instate Najib and return Malaysia to the economic thrall of China – under a leadership that has been entirely corrupted into an obedient subservience.