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Out of 1MDB, but Jho Low’s aunt remains TRX City company secretary

KUALA LUMPUR: Goh Gaik Kim (pic), who has been the company secretary of TRX City Sdn Bhd since end-March 2011, is the aunt of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low.

Sources revealed to The Edge Financial Daily that Gaik Kim is the younger sister of Jho Low’s mother, Puan Sri Evelyn Goh Gaik Ewe.

Checks revealed that she was also the company secretary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), TRX City’s parent, after being appointed in end-March 2011 as well. However, research indicates that she likely left 1MDB in early April 2016, when Chen Kai Hong was appointed in her stead.

A senior member of TRX City’s management confirmed that Goh was still the outfit’s company secretary but claimed to not know that she was Jho Low’s aunt.

“Honestly I don’t know, I don’t know if she is Jho Low’s aunt,” he said when contacted to verify if TRX City’s website was accurate and Gaik Kim was still employed by them.

Whether the top brass of TRX City is aware of the relationship or whether it has ever been highlighted to them is not known, but it definitely leaves a bad taste.

“While Goh (Gaik Kim) may be qualified for the job — TRX City’s website says she has over 20 years of experience as a company secretary — the question of conflict arises because her sister (Gaik Ewe) and brother-in-law (Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng) are wanted on allegations that they were involved in the shenanigans at 1MDB, and her nephew is deemed the architect of the scam that is 1MDB,” one observer said.

To recap, 1MDB had issued US$3 billion of 10-year bonds in March 2013, underwritten by Goldman Sachs, and intended for the development of the Tun Razak Exchange, to which TRX City — which was then still known as 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd — is the master developer. (It changed its name to TRX City in December 2015).

However, the US$3 billion of the funds which were raised for new strategic economic initiatives between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi were never used to develop the Tun Razak Exchange. Instead, it is deemed to have been diverted to Jho Low’s accounts, where some US$1.3 billion were used to acquire paintings.

Shortly after this bond issue, probes showed that US$681 million was transferred to an account belonging to former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, though Najib has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the money was a political donation from Saudi Arabia royalty. The issue is now being heard in the courts.

In 2012, Najib inaugurated the Tun Razak Exchange or TRX, a financial centre to be built on 28.33ha of prime real estate close to Kuala Lumpur’s golden triangle. It was named after his late father, Malaysia’s second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.

TRX had a projected gross development value of RM40 billion, and has sold about 70% of its land bank to Australia’s Lendlease, Mulia Property Development, HSBC, Affin Bank Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd and Urusharta Jemaah Sdn Bhd, among others. However, the ministry of finance has bought 51% of Mulia’s Malaysian outfit, Mulia Property Development Sdn Bhd.

It is also noteworthy that TRX City has a 40% stake in Bandar Malaysia, in which IWH-CREC Sdn Bhd — a joint venture between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and state-owned China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd — is the project’s master developer, after agreeing to pay a deposit of RM1.24 billion for their 60% stake, which is valued at RM7.41 billion.

“As company secretary, Goh (Gaik Kim) will have access to major decisions of TRX City. What is there to assure that these bits of information is not shared with her fugitive relatives?” the observer asked.

Source: The Edge Market

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