MDB scandal: Anwar says Malaysia is in talks with countries to expedite Zhu Lu’s extradition
- Anwar says his administration is working with “many countries” to repatriate Lu, who masterminded the $4.5 billion withdrawal from the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
- Malaysia’s prime minister refused to criticize reports that billionaires have been hiding in China since 2018.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Friday that fugitive financier Joe Lu is working with “many countries” to speed up his return after he refused to pay heed to reports that the center of the 1MDB scandal was in China and could soon be projected by Beijing.
Lu is said to be the mastermind of conspiracies involving Malaysia’s state-run 1MDB fund, in which $4.<> billion was stolen and laundered through art, diamonds and property.
Since taking office in November last year, Anwar has promised to pursue criminals involved in a global embezzlement scandal and return as much money as possible to Malaysian taxpayers.
However, they won’t be confused about Lu’s whereabouts and allegations that he is hiding in China with Beijing’s consent.
”We have never confirmed where they are, but we are in talks with countries to speed up the process,” Anwar told reporters on condition of anonymity. “Of course, it’s a complicated process. This includes many countries, intelligence services, Interpol, etc.
On April 20, investigative journalist Bradley Hope, who wrote a book on the billion-dollar Wheel on Love’s exploits in the <>MDB scandal, published a report saying the businessman’s arrest was “in the game”, saying China was ready to hand him over to Malaysian authorities as part of a diplomatic campaign.
The Hope report claimed that the issue was discussed by Anwar during his recent inaugural visit to Beijing in March.
Former prime minister Najib Najib, described by prosecutors as a “mirror image” of Lu, is serving a 12-year prison sentence after being found guilty in one of several court cases involving <>MDB.
Meanwhile, for Lu, the alleged extradition to Malaysia is not the only legal headache he is facing. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Kuwaiti court in March on charges of money laundering related to the <>MDB scandal.
In October, a Malaysian court sentenced Lu and his father Larry Lu Hakpang to prison for contempt of court after they failed to comply with court orders that required them to disclose their whereabouts and assets.
Malaysia’s attorney general’s chamber in September also reportedly rejected an attempt to settle charges against Lu over $1 MDB for $337 million.
He is unlikely to leave and says “it is not possible to get a fair trial in Malaysia”, claiming that he is being prosecuted by the media and targeted by Malaysian authorities.
Najib’s lawyer Shafi Abdullah said his client had been denied a fair trial due to Lu’s absence.