1MDB directors include Jho Low’s family friend, records show

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 16): New 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chief Arul Kanda Kandasamy had, in an interview published in Mingguan Malaysia yesterday, insisted once again that neither Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) nor any friends of the Low family are involved in 1MDB.

In response to a question, Arul said "Jho Low has no ties with 1MDB and I have not come across any document that linked him to this company".

He added:  "In fact, allegations that his (Jho’s) father or his friend is a director of 1MDB is not true."

Business associates of the Low family say that the 38-year-old Arul, who took over as president and group executive director a month ago, did not know what he was talking about, as Jho Low’s father Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng is a friend of 1MDB non-executive director Tan Sri Ong Gim Huat.

In June 2013, the elder Low and Ong were conferred the title of Tan Sri by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong. Mutual friends had put up an advertisement in newspapers congratulating the two men.

Low and Ong are both businessmen based in Penang and the latter is also chairman of the Chinese newspaper Kwong Wah Yit Poh, besides owning a few small businesses. Very little was known of Ong when he and Ashvin Valiram of the Valiram luxury business firm joined the board of 1MDB in January, 2010.

They replaced Tan Sri Azlan Zainol and Tan Sri Bakke Salleh who served for only a few months.

Ong, together with the the 1MDB CEO, were the directors who have signed off all the accounts of 1MDB since FY 2011. He has a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from the University of Manitoba in Canada.

The audited accounts of 1MDB are regularly late and it is also into its third external auditors (now Deloitte) in its five years in existence.