Singaporean authorities are keeping mum as reports claim that an aircraft purported to belong to tycoon Low Taek Jho had been seized in the city-state.
The reports that have been circulating since at least Thursday last week claim that the Bombardier Global 5000 jet had been impounded at a hangar at Singapore’s Seletar airport.
When asked about the reports, however, the Singapore Police Force declined to comment.
“We are unable to comment as investigations are ongoing,” it said in an email to Malaysiakini last night.
Meanwhile, the Changi Airport Group that manages Seletar airport told the news portal on Sunday that it, too, is unable to comment on the matter.
This is because the Changi Airport Group does not manage the hangars at Seletar airport. Instead, the hangars are managed by one of several companies operating at the airport.
One such company, Jet Aviation (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd, responded to Malaysiakini’s queries regarding the reports, saying that “Our company does not provide the type of information you are requesting.”
The company provides aircraft maintenance and refurbishment services, among others.
The claim that Low’s aircraft had been impounded appear to originate from a blog post dated Feb 2, but has been deleted as of Sunday. The deleted post is still available on Google’s cache as of the time of writing.
By then however, the claims had been reported by Sarawak Report and China Press, which both cite the same blog post. The same blog post had also been reproduced in several other blogs and websites.
The claim was then reported by several news outlets such as The Edge and finews.asia, which both cite Sarawak Report as their source.
The blog post claims that the aircraft bearing the tail number N689WM had been in a hangar at Seletar airport with a ‘red notice’ pasted on its door for the past two weeks.
According to Singapore’s Today, which visited Selatar Airport on Sunday, a plane matching the description of Low’s jet was seen on the premises, but its tail number had been covered up.
The US$35 million (RM155 million) aircraft is one of several property items linked to Low in relation to the 1MDB scandal that is being sought by the US Department of Justice’s ongoing civil forfeiture suits.
The suit claims that Low, also known by his moniker Jho Low, had purchased the jet in 2010 using funds that can be traced to the US$1 billion supposedly siphoned from 1MDB. 1MDB had insisted that all its monies are accounted for.
Mentioned during Yeo Jiawei’s trial
During the trial of former BSI bank wealth planner Yeo Jiawei in Singapore courts last year, Low’s jet was mentioned.
A photograph taken by Yeo, which showed the businessman in the plane before taking off from Singapore to Hong Kong, was presented in court.
Yeo was sentenced to a total of 30 months’ jail after he was convicted on four charges of witness-tampering.
He was also found to have frustrated investigations into illegal money flows from account, individuals and entities linked to 1MDB.
Prosecutors said Yeo amassed a net worth of some S$23.9 million (RM75 million) in just 15 months through “secret profits” after he left the bank in June 2014 to work for Low.
Source : Koh Jun Lin & Geraldine Tong @ Malaysiakini