Jho Low's Mother to Return $1.7 Million of Diamonds to U.S.

(Bloomberg) -- A set of diamond jewelry worth $1.7 million that Jho Low bought for his mother, allegedly with money stolen from 1MDB, will be handed over to the U.S. government.

The pair of flawless diamond earrings and 7.53-carat diamond ring will be transferred by a custodian to the U.S. as part of a forfeiture lawsuit, according to a Justice Department filing. The jewelry was held by Goh Gaik Ewe, mother of Low Taek Jho.

The transfer shouldn’t be construed as an admission of wrongdoing or liability, according to the filing.

The jewelry comes after authorities seized a mansion and a superyacht from Low and his family as part of efforts to trace billions of dollars believed to have been siphoned from 1MDB. Low, who remains at large, is facing charges for his alleged role in the troubled Malaysian state fund. The 1MDB scandal has reached the highest levels of Malaysian politics, with former Prime Minister Najib Razak now standing on trial, and ensnared Goldman Sachs Group Inc in its first criminal case.

Low is “pleased” to learn that the Justice Department and relevant parties are working to amicably resolve the matter. “We look forward to the continuing resolution of these issues,” he said in a statement through his spokesman. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Bond Proceeds

Low bought the jewelry for his mother using funds traceable to proceeds from a 2012 1MDB bond offer, according to a Justice Department complaint for forfeiture in 2017. Low commissioned jeweler Lorraine Schwartz for “nice timeless (but not old looking setting)” 3-carat diamond earrings and a ring for his mother in November 2012, together with a 7-carat diamond engagement ring for an unidentified woman, according to the filing.

The Justice Department said Low paid for the jewelry by wire transfer from his personal account at BSI Bank, according to the complaint. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has shut the lender’s local unit as part of its money laundering probe into 1MDB.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.