The Billion Dollar Whale ~ by Bradley Hope and Tom Wright

I love a good true crime novel, especially tech and financial crimes but family crimes of passion will do. Just no serial killelrs please – although if the book is solidly based on the procedurals involved in solving the case I can appreciate it. Over the years I’ve gone from Ann Rule (many) to Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyou. I usually read one or more a month, but it’s not a steady diet. I enjoy historical true crime and stories from more recent headlines.


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The Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the World
by Bradley Hope and Tom Wright
2018 / 401 pages
Read by Will Colyer
Rating: 8 / true crime – finance
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This is the story of Low Taek Jho 
(Jho Low), the main man in the multi-billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal which still unfolds in the media today as Malaysia’s new leader along with officials from the US and other entities try to prosecute those involved and recoup some of Malaysia’s 4.5 billion dollars worth of losses.. (It’s mind-bendingly complicated..)   https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/kl-high-court-allows-seizure-of-158-million-from-accounts-of-jho-lows-father

And read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-police-chief-jho-low-location-sage-return-
11562412
And there’s always the great Wiki for background:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1Malaysia_Development_Berhad_scandal

This is the story of how Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman from a wealthy family pushed himself from relative obscurity through Wharton college and the elite Harrow college in London to royal circles and then built a financial empire conning whomever crossed his path including the corrupt leader of Malaysia and his spend-happy wife, Goldman Sachs, a couple of Saudi and other princes, Paris Hilton and Leonardo Decaprio plus a host of other stars and millionaires, as well as a couple of old college buddies.

Low was involved in international banking and securities, Hollywood, the music scene, and fantastically expensive art, jewelry, yachts and homes. This is the story of how Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman from a wealthy family pushed himself from relative obscurity through Wharton college and the elite Harrow college in London to royal circles and then built a financial empire on Malaysian government funds.

Using the step-son of Prime Minister Najib to gain entry, Jho schemed with or conned whomever crossed his path including the corrupt Prime Minister of Malaysia and his spend-happy wife, Goldman Sachs, a couple of Saudi and other princes, Paris Hilton and Leonard Decaprio plus a host of other stars and millionaires as well as old a couple of old buddies. Low was involved in international banking and securities, Hollywood, the music scene, and fantastically expensive art, jewelry, yachts and homes.

Then his tangled web and the powers that be caught up to his shenanigans, but they didn’t catch him. He remains at large, probably somewhere in China.

According to Amazon, Bill Gates apparently found Low’s story “thrilling” and although I wasn’t quite so impressed for the first third, the narrative steadily builds to a “thriller” type ending. The book only hints at sex, but high-dollar partying is featured where necessary. In that way it’s kind of like “The Wof of Wall Street,” the movie Low helped finance. (I’ve neither read the book nor seen the movie.)

As I read I got a bit bored and/or confused sometimes because there are so many names and financial dealings. But on finishing I was so glad I’d read it. The publishing date was September 2018 and much has transpired since then. Googling various names to see how the case has progressed has been fascinating.

In the news: https://pagesix.com/2019/07/15/wolf-of-wall-street-producer-returning-14m-over-malaysian-money-scandal/

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-police-chief-jho-low-location-sage-return-11562412

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