Wall Street Journal reporters Wright and Hope tell the story of a massive international financial scandal they initially exposed in the newspaper in 2015, reporting that made them finalists for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.
Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope put the Dylan lyric in the frontispiece of their new book, Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the World. Nine chapters in, the reader learns how that whale — an insecure scion to a garment fortune named Jho Low — nabbed the first $700 million of about $7 billion he would steal from 1MDB, an investment fund of the Malaysian government, from 2009 to 2015. The sheer audacity of that first heist, Wright and Hope write, gave Low, who was in his late 20s at the time, access to more liquid money than anyone on the planet. He spent it gambling and partying in Las Vegas, buying art and properties, befriending celebrities and buying off business associates and politicians to keep his money train rolling ... Low will eventually be caught and tossed into an unpleasant Malaysian jail, leaving only one question in the telling of his story: Who’s going to play Leo in the movie version?
...Written by a pair of Wall Street Journal reporters, this well-researched and well-documented book reveals how Low, who had no credentials apart from a business degree from Wharton, insinuated himself into the Malaysian prime minister’s inner circle, came to control hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of dollars, and attracted celebrity pals from around the world. It reveals how Low used a bag of tricks, including financial fraud, to make himself seem more powerful, more influential, and more successful than he actually was. And it reveals the deep flaws in the Malaysian government that allowed Low to become an unofficial controller of a billion-plus-dollar development fund from which, apparently, he simply stole huge sums of money. For fans of business books about financial misdealings, this is a must-read.
Wall Street Journal correspondents Wright and Hope transform their investigation of a mind-boggling financial fraud into a nonfiction thriller tracking the rise and fall of Jho Low, the 'alleged mastermind of a multi-billion-dollar scam.' ... Complete with an epigraph from Jordan Belfort of Wolf of Wall Street fame, this is an...tale of white-collar crime on a global scale.