What is Jho Low’s Net Worth?
Jho Low is a Malaysian fugitive criminal businessman who has a net worth of $150 million. Jho Low is wanted in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. He is alleged to have been the mastermind behind a global scheme involving the systematic embezzlement of $4.5 billion from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Claiming his innocence, Low has contended that he is being targeted by Malaysian authorities due to his support of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, himself convicted as part of the 1MDB scandal.
As of this writing, he is a fugitive wanted by Malaysian authorities for his connection with the 1MDB scandal. He is believed to be hiding out in rural China. Soon after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, he managed to convince the Prime Minister of Malaysia to launch a sovereign wealth fund that Low would control. The resulting 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal ultimately ended with Jho Low being charged with money laundering and diverting more than $4.5 billion with other conspirators.
Jho Low diverted the 1MDB money to finance an incredibly lavish lifestyle for himself and Prime Minster Najib Razak. Low acquired a lavish portfolio of real estate that included mansions all over the world, a private jet and a $250 million yacht. Along the way he funneled money to help keep Prime Minister Razak in power and his wife Rosmah stocked with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of clothes and jewelry.
Jho also used the stolen money to maintain friendships with many major entertainment super stars including Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Miranda Kerr. He actually dated Miranda Kerr and famously gave her tens of millions of dollars worth of jewelry which she ultimately was forced to return.
Through his friendship with DiCaprio Jho Low financed the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Much of the film’s profits were ultimately seized by the government of Malaysia.
Early Life and Education
Jho Low was born on November 4, 1981 in George Town, Malaysia to an affluent Malaysian Chinese family. He is the youngest of three siblings. Low was educated at Chung Ling High School and the International School of Penang (Uplands) in Malaysia, and then at the prestigious Harrow School in London, England. At the latter institution, he hobnobbed with many students from elite families. Following his time in London, Low moved to the United States to attend the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Career Beginnings in Business
In the US, Low began managing funds for his family and friends. He also established an investment group through which he made a number of lucrative deals. By 2010, Low had consolidated his fortune into the company Jynwel Capital. As the steward of the company, he developed close relationships with some of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, including the Kuwait Investment Authority and the UAE’s Mubadala. Through his company Jynwel, Low has been involved in such major transactions as the $660 million purchase of New York City’s Park Lane Hotel and the $2.2 billion takeover of Coastal Energy.
1Malaysia Development Berhad Scandal
Low is most notorious for his involvement with the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. In 2015, a leaked document revealed that former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had funneled more than $700 million from the company into his personal bank accounts, with Low being the alleged mastermind behind the scheme. Low helped to embezzle the money and move it internationally through a number of shell companies and offshore bank accounts. Later, the US Department of Justice calculated that over $4.5 billion had been diverted from 1MDB, and that the money had been used to purchase a host of luxury items and properties. Low also invested $100 million of the funds in the production of Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Moreover, it was found that attempts were made for the embezzled money to be used for political donations and lobbying in the US.
The 1MDB scandal caused an uproar in Malaysia, prompting protests from the public and a purge of dissidents from the Malaysian government. On the international stage, at least six countries opened investigations into financial and criminal activity connected to 1MDB. In the US, rapper Pras and former Goldman Sachs chairman Tim Leissner were among those charged for their involvement in the scandal. Later, following the election of new Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 2018, former Prime Minister Najib Razak was charged and convicted for his role in the scandal and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad issued warrants for Low’s arrest. Claiming his innocence and contending that Mohamad and the authorities are after him for political reasons, Low became an international fugitive. He is believed to be living in China, where he remains involved with some of his companies; he also has been reported to have Cypriot citizenship. Meanwhile, a federal criminal case against him is ongoing in the US. In 2021, Low was charged for running a back-channel campaign to get Trump’s administration to drop its investigation of his involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
Before becoming a fugitive, Low was in romantic relationships with Taiwanese singer-songwriter and actress Elva Hsiao and Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr. He also had associations with such celebrities as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Paris Hilton, Alicia Keys, and Busta Rhymes, many of whom he gave lavish gifts funded by embezzled 1MDB money. In 2017, Low’s ex-girlfriend Kerr gave the US government $8 million in jewelry she had been gifted by Low. Other celebrities have surrendered their gifts as well, including DiCaprio, who gave back paintings by Picasso and Basquiat.