Jho Low, the fugitive businessman at the center of the 1MDB scandal, may be hiding in Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began, according to Malaysian authorities.
"Before this, Jho Low was confirmed hiding in Wuhan," Inspector General Abdul Hamid Bador said at a news conference on Thursday, state broadcaster Bernama reported.
But the officer added, "There was no new information on whether (Low) had fled the country following the Covid-19 outbreak."
Low, the alleged mastermind of a multibillion dollar corruption scandal that rocked Malaysia, struck a $700 million deal with the US government to end a legal case against him in October last year.
The US Department of Justice previously claimed that $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by senior officials -- including Low -- and pumped into New York condos, hotels, yachts and a jet, and used to fund movies such as Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle "The Wolf of Wall Street," and expensive gifts for Low's friends, including heiress Paris Hilton.
The scandal helped bring down former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was also hit with dozens of corruption-related charges in the case. His trial in Malaysia is ongoing, and he has pleaded not guilty.
Low has been identified by some as the alleged mastermind of the embezzlement, a charge he has strongly denied. He remains wanted by the authorities in Malaysia.
Abdul Hamid said that he has asked the Kuala Lumpur International Airport "to be alert should he return." He added that should Low have become infected with the coronavirus then his best option would be return to Malaysia.
"(The) Malaysian Health Ministry is the best, as nine people have successfully been cured," he said.