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Malaysia's police say Jho Low's whereabouts known, aim to bring him in by end of year

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KUALALUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian police said on Wednesday they know the location of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and hope to bring him back by the end of the year to help in investigations into a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB.

Investigators have named Low, better known as Jho Low, as a key figure in the scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which U.S. and Malaysian prosecutors say was used to siphon out hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I will try my best to expedite (the process)… hopefully we can get him back by the end of the year,” police chief Abdul Hamid Bador said at a forum broadcast live on television.

Representatives for Low did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Low faces charges in the United States and Malaysia over his alleged central role in the scandal at 1MDB, which was founded by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib, who was ousted in an election last year amid widespread anger over the scandal, has been charged with 42 criminal offences related to losses at 1MDB and other state entities.

Both Low and Najib have consistently denied wrongdoing.

Abdul Hamid said he believes Low “has the protection of someone” who provided him a safe haven in a certain country.

The police chief did not name the country, but confirmed that it has signed an extradition treaty with Malaysia.

“Our investigations found that he is free to move around, and able to run his businesses without any restrictions,” Abdul Hamid said.

Asked if Malaysian authorities will be able to secure Jho Low’s return, he said: “I am confident”.

Malaysian and U.S. investigators say that at least $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by Low and other high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Toby Chopra)

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