(Bloomberg) — Fugitive financier Jho Low obtained a Cypriot passport in 2015 following intervention on his behalf by Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the Orthodox Church on the eastern Mediterranean island, Politis reported.Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho, obtained Cyprus nationality under the country’s investment for passport scheme after buying a mansion for 5 million euros ($5.6 million) in the resort town of Agia Napa, according to the newspaper. He immediately left the island after purchasing the property and getting the passport, the report said.
A senior Cypriot government official confirmed that Low has Cypriot nationality. The Archbishop wasn’t available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.
Chrysostomos sent at least two letters to the country’s then-interior minister asking for Low’s naturalization as the two were in talks for investment on church property, Politis reported.
Low has been painted by prosecutors as the mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal, which saw more than $4.5 billion allegedly misappropriated from the Malaysian investment fund. He recently struck a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to return almost $1 billion of assets to resolve forfeiture cases linked to him. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
His whereabouts remain unknown despite the Interpol issuing a red notice against him last year. Malaysian police said they know his location but that he’s being protected by a certain party, with whom they are conducting talks to bring him back.
Low was offered asylum in August by a country that acts in line with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights, his spokesman said last week through his lawyers, without naming the country.
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