Man behind 'the largest kleptocracy case in the world' lost $2 million in 90 minutes at Las Vegas casino
Las Vegas casino operators are used to the huge wagers and outlandish requests of their super-rich, high-roller guests. But even by those standards, Chinese-Malaysian fugitive financier Jho Low stands out. According to testimony in a New York court, Low bet and lost $1.75 million during a 90-minute turn at a baccarat table in 2010 at The Venetian casino.
Vice News reports that a marketing executive with more than 20 years of experience at the Venetian, Kirk Godby, testified about Low's eye-popping spending habits during the trial of Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker. Ng is accused of aiding and abetting Low and others of stealing $4.5 billion from 1Malaysia Development Bank (1MDB).
A U.S. attorney general once called the 1MDB pilfering “the largest kleptocracy case in the world.” It resulted in the collapse of former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government in 2018.
Godby told the jury that Ng gambled with Low during the former banker’s sole visit to the Venetian in late November 2010. Ng lost $22,500 playing baccarat during his visit, which took place before the first 1MDB bond deal closed in May 2012. Low played at the same table as Ng on the morning of Nov. 29 at around 5 a.m. and placed $4 million in bets, Godby testified.
Low, said to be the mastermind behind the pilfering of Malaysia’s state 1MDB public investment fund, gambled nearly $87 million at The Venetian and lost around $26 million of that, Godby told the court.
The Venetian wasn’t the only Las Vegas casino Low frequented though. To celebrate his 28th birthday, Low threw a bash at Caesars Palace, flew actor Leonardo DiCaprio in on a private jet and paid him $150,000 to attend the party and a dinner.
The "Asian Great Gatsby,” as Low is sometimes called, currently is an international fugitive and is believed to be hiding out in China. According to court testimony in Ng's trial, the 40-year-old Low is known for throwing lavish parties with the stolen funds. Jurors were told that he paid high-profile celebrities to attend them, including Megan Fox, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.
Model Emily Ratajkowski has previously claimed Low paid her $25,000 to attend the Super Bowl with him. He also gifted millions of dollars worth of diamonds and jewelry to former Victoria’s Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr, items she was forced to surrender to authorities as part of investigations into the 1MDB scandal.
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