7. Jho Low and Rosmah BFF story
When Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, was studying at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he impressed Rosmah with his acquaintance with prominent Persian Gulf families. How the two came to meet was because Low had a family-own house near to Najib’s residence in London.
The relationship strengthened after Low convinced a state fund in Abu Dhabi to invest in Malaysia where Najib could its take credit. Rosmah’s admiration for Low grew and eventually became her “champion.” It led to Low set up the infamous, debt-laden, state investment company 1MDB in 2009 which aimed to stimulate the country’s economy by spending government money. According to people who worked there, Najib as prime minister had given Low much autonomy to manage the company.
1MDB’s venture was a downward spiral for the Malaysians but it seemed it was when Rosmah skyrocketed to the stars, literally:
8. Rosmah meets Jamie Foxx and Robert De Niro
While Low was mounting controversies of his socialite circle where even Australia-born supermodel Miranda Kerr was reportedly received US$19 million of jewellery from Low, Low didn’t disappoint Rosmah in the same sort of living. When Najib was making his way to US the first time as PM, Low ran a two-page advertisement on The New York Times that sang praises of the couple. The ad was reportedly US$100,000.
Other than that, Low with his influence had organized a party full of stars after Rosmah said she wanted to meet celebrities. Appearing to the party was Robert de Niro and Jamie Foxx at the St. Regis Hotel, New York. Low was helping Rosmah’s son Riza Aziz to set up a film production company, Red Granite Pictures. The US Department of Justice claimed the company to have received US$1 million from 1MDB, which was used to produce academy nominated film “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Star of the film, Leonardo DiCaprio had since returned various gifts he received to the Justice Department, so as Miranda Kerr’s jewellery.
Those who attended the party told WSJ that they saw Rosmah danced with Jamie Foxx. As for Robert De Niro, Rosmah had invited the Oscar winner to Kuala Lumpur as she wanted him to see Malaysia.
9. Blackrock for Rosmah, by Jho Low
If a star-struck party was not enough, Low also plucked stars from the sky for Rosmah through a shell company called “Blackstone.” Based on researchers’ finding, the company was a funnel to hide 1MDB funds and it had nothing to do with US-Malaysia investment.
The name of the company was a metaphor to Rosmah with black being the heart of the first lady and rock represented the diamonds. Besides, Rosmah also expected Low to give her handbags. However, when the investigation started to hurl at Low, he pointed his fingers at Rosmah and claimed that he was no party in the scandal.
Separately, Rosmah is said to be one of the world biggest collectors of pink diamonds, a Malaysian entrepreneur who handpicked some of the gems for Rosmah revealed. There was even one diamond costs US$27 million (RM108 million).
10. Rosmah remedies her reputation
After heavy scrutiny by the public and viral posts calling out her extravagant outfit and accessory, Rosmah’s autobiography wrote that all the claims were politically motivated. A passage in the book published in 2013 read, “I bought some jewellery and dresses with my own money, what’s wrong with that?”
When the unpopular Goods and Services Tax was introduced, Rosmah tried to empathize with rakyat as the tax is making people difficult make ends meet. The first lady failed miserably and even backfired when she claimed that her saloon session’s fee had gone up to US$400 which is some Malaysians’ monthly salary.
11. Rosmah sits in to mitigate US’s probe into 1MDB scandal
When the first lady got down herself, it meant business. According to a source familiar with the scope, Rosmah helped hired lobbyists to urge US Department of Justice to drop the case.
Rosmah even listened in when the expert team of legislator-influencers was in a phone conference with the Malaysian ambassador and the United States.
BONUS #1: Najib said Rosmah had a Master’s Degree in recent Pekan speech
Malaysiakini previously reported Najib had rubbished allegations pertaining Rosmah was the person behind his administration during a speech in Pekan, where he is the MP of. He said decisions are made in the Cabinet, not at his house beside his wife. However, the former premier added Rosmah had a Master’s degree qualification which she would sometime slip out some suggestions as she is knowledgeable about news pertinent to the developing world.
BONUS #2: Rosmah’s lawyers defend
Since the WSJ coverage blew up, Rosmah’s lawyers had refuted the allegations made against their client that she played a central role in 1MDB.
“We would like to reiterate here, that our client had no links, nor any direct and indirect role with the day-to-day operations of the said company, more so its financial management, or those who were appointed to oversee the firm,” Datuk K Kumaraendran and Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, the lawyers of Rosmah said in a statement, as quoted by The Star.
BONUS #3: It’s unlikely Rosmah to sue WSJ
The statement from Rosmah’s lawyers continued that Rosmah had never influenced Najib’s administration and claimed that the report was a “pure trial by media, expounded further by the court of public opinion.”
Back then, Najib had filed many defamatory lawsuits against domestic media owners and politicians but had never sued WSJ or New York Times as it’s believed that Najib cannot bring the case to Malaysia’s courtroom as lawyers said the cause of action took place in the US. If Najib or Rosmah wanted to sue the paper, the couple has to retain an American firm or lawyer to proceed with libel suit there.
BONUS #4: Najib really didn’t know anything about 1MDB
FeedMe Malaysia had previously reported that Najib was pushing away the blames of 1MDB to Low, claiming that Low “volunteered” to be involved in the dealings of the state investment company and he had “no control” over what he did.
If WSJ’s allegations were true, it would make sense why Najib had no idea about how US$4.5 billion (RM18.1 billion) were misappropriated from 1MDB. The amount was US Department of Justice’s allegation, the case is now being investigated with a criminal case in mind rather than a civil process.
Do you think the allegations are true? Let us know in the comments below.