PR firms still being paid millions for services to Jho Low
A London-based public relations firm is still being paid millions for services to businessperson Low Taek Jho, who is wanted as a key suspect in the alleged multi-billion ringgit theft of 1MDB funds and remains on the run, according to a report by UK-based The Guardian. MalaysiaKini has the story:
The report said Schillings, a firm specialising in managing the reputation of wealthy clients, was paid US$1.3 million (RM5.56 million) for services rendered to Low (above), better known as Jho Low, between January 2019 and March this year.
Citing US lobbying disclosure documents, the report said some of the activities include “informing public opinion” in the US.
Other works included preparing press statements and maintaining a website for Low.
Schillings had in 2018 sent legal letters to booksellers threatening action over the sale of the book Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World which detailed Low’s alleged exploits.
The report said disclosures also showed that London-based public relations and crisis management agency PHA Group had received £275,000 (RM1.47 million) since 2018 from representing Low.
The report quoted a lawyer from Schillings responding on behalf of both Schillings and PHA Group, saying that they have complied with all applicable laws and regulations.
In 2018, The New York Times reported that a legal team representing Low had spent US$1.1 million that year to boost Low’s image in the face of the 1MDB scandal.
The report said the services included round-the-clock crisis public relations response, efforts to shape Internet search results, and a website with international reports and legal filings aimed at bolstering his side of his story.
The campaign was reportedly carried out on behalf of Low by two high-powered US law firms, namely Kobre & Kim and Schillings International.
The disclosure was made in accordance with US law under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
He was also charged in absentia in Malaysia for money laundering involving a sum of US$1.03 billion in late 2018.
The scandal led to the fall of the BN government in the 2018 general election headed by then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak. The coalition had been in power since 1957.
Najib is standing trial for money laundering, abuse of power and attempting to cover up the scandal.