1MDB suspect and Jho Low associate dies weeks after questioning

Kee’s death comes after anti-graft body said he had confirmed the whereabouts of Malaysian financier Jho Taek Low.

Some $4.5bn is believed to have been stolen from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB [File: Joshua Paul/AP]

A suspect in the 1MDB scandal has died weeks after being deported to Malaysia to face questioning over his role in the $4.5bn fraud.

Kee Kok Thiam died in hospital on Monday following a “sudden massive stroke” and was cremated on Wednesday morning, Kee’s family said in a statement.

“We urge all parties not to entertain any speculations on this unfortunate event and allow the family the space to grief [sic] on his passing,” the statement said.

News of the 56-year-old businessman’s death comes hours after Al Jazeera reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had confirmed the whereabouts of fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Taek Low – the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB scandal – in Macau based on its questioning of Kee.

The MACC said that Kee, who was deported from Macau earlier this month, revealed he had met with Low and other 1MDB fugitives in the Chinese territory and that Low had instructed him “not to return to Malaysia as a witness in the 1MDB case”.

Low disappeared in 2016 as authorities from Singapore to Australia and the United States closed in on the theft of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.

A source at the MACC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera that Kee was not under the protection of authorities as he was still considered a suspect. The source said no negotiations had taken place as to information he would be willing to divulge to receive protection.

Kee was released without charge after being questioned by MACC officers earlier this month.

Source: Al Jazeera