Jho Low (Source: mole.my)

Hanoi (VNA) - Malaysian police on August 24 announced criminal charges against fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, who has been wanted for links with a multi-billion-dollar money laundering scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Low, popularly known as Jho Low, is considered as having been close to former Prime Minister Najib Razak and has been identified by investigators in Malaysia and the US as a key figure in the 1MDB case.

He was slapped with eight charges of money laundering, while Low's father Low Hock Peng was booked for one charge under the same money laundering act.

Low and his family's whereabouts are unknown, but Malaysian lawmakers and police have said the 38-year-old financier is believed to be living in China. Some media reports say he may be in Abu Dhabi.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Singaporean authorities had previously issued arrest warrants for Low. Malaysia has also applied for an Interpol red notice to seek assistance from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong to detain Low.

Investigations into 1MDB were reopened after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad returned to power in a stunning election victory in May, ending Najib's decade-long rule.

Last month, Najib was charged for money laundering and abuse of power in connection with funds transferred from a former unit of 1MDB. Najib has denied all wrongdoings and has been granted bail, waiting for the trial scheduled to open on February 12, 2019.

The US Department of Justice said over 4.5 billion USD was misappropriated from 1MDB, with some of the money used to buy a private jet, a superyacht, Picasso paintings, jewellery and real estate.-VNA