PETALING JAYA: Businessman Low Taek Jho says he has been made a scapegoat for the losses suffered by the controversy-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
In his first-ever public response to the allegations hurled at him in recent months, the flashy businessmen fondly known as Jho Low said he was never involved in 1MDB, aside from offering advice to Middle Eastern entities on the strategic investment company.
"I don't run 1MDB. I don't control 1MDB. I don't decide anything on 1MDB, but if any Middle East entity that I know wants to ask me for my view, I'll give them my view.
"And, if they want to get involved with 1MDB, that's their prerogative," he told Euromoney magazine in an exclusive interview published in its April issue.
On attacks against his lavish partying lifestyle, he said that he would have to be "the dumbest businessman ever" if he raked in profits off government dealings only to waste it all on glamorous parties.
"Because there are all these pictures of me and Paris Hilton drinking and all that, then you play to the Bumiputera card and say, 'oh, the Chinaman stole all the money and blew it all on alcohol'.
"I must be the dumbest person ever, if I really made money off the government and then to blow it like there is no tomorrow, it's like about the dumbest thing you can do," the young tycoon said, referring to the many photos published of him partying with socialite Paris Hilton.
He also reiterated that he had not invested in 1MDB bonds, as alleged by some quarters, and rubbished claims that he somehow controlled the company.
The Cabinet has ordered an audit of 1MDB, which is said to have built up a debt of nearly RM42billion (S$15.4 billion).
Much attention has been trained on Jho Low's involvement in the firm, and further demands from the public that the Government explain the company's investment decisions.
Jho Low, however, believes he has been made a scapegoat in the entire saga, accusing critics of blowing up a campaign centred around him.
"Did the people supposed to be responsible for decision-making (at 1MDB) suddenly decide to absolve all their responsibilities and then create this PR campaign with me as the focus of it," he told Euromoney.