Friday, July 30, 2010

International man of mystery - Low Taek Jho denies he is dating Paris Hilton

Always one to welcome the camera, Paris Hilton took part in a mini photo shoot on a boat in Paris, France on July 15th, 2010.

Paris was spending the day on the boat with her sister Nicky Hilton and Malaysian millionaire Taek Jho Low.

The 29-year-old heiress was wearing a bright pink dress with a large diamond snake bracelet, tights and high heels as she posed for a photographer on the water with the Eiffel tower as a background.

The combo pictures below :

Is Jho Low - the young 28 year old Malaysian billionaire seeing Paris Hilton???

Jho Low is Malaysia's international man of Mystery...!!!

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 30 July 2010: As reported by The Star.

At first, i thought this person was J-Lo or Jeniffer Lopez due to similarity in pronouncing their names but no.. Jho Low is Malaysia's own International Man of Mystery..!!!

Jho Low, who parties with Paris Hilton and is reputed to chalk up hefty bills for champagne, has finally come out to talk about himself and the life he lives.

It is the first time ever that Jho spoke to the media after his outing with Paris Hilton, was widely reported in the world and Malaysian media.

Jho has turned from an unknown Malaysian to an overnight celebrity!!

In an exclusive interview with The Star, Malaysia's biggest selling daily newspaper, this 28-year-old multilingual Penangite, whose full name is Low Taek Jho, reveals for the first time:

> His Arab childhood friends and investors are actually the spenders, not him;

> How he made his first million when he was just 20 and the billions in deals he had strung together so far;

> The importance of going to the right schools;

> Setting up a portfolio worth billions that will go public in October;

> He parties with Hilton, Megan Fox, Jamie Foxx, Lindsay Lohan and Usher but claims that news reports about the parties are exaggerated.

> How he grew up in Penang and his present globe-trotting life covering Los Angeles, New York, London, St Tropez, Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur.

A millionaire before graduating

Businessman and Malaysia’s most famous socialite Jho Low made his first million – in US dollars – when he was barely 20 years old when he took a semester off from The Wharton School of Business to set up an investment fund that is today worth in excess of US$1bil (RM3.19bil).

In his first-ever interview with the media, Low said he was in the right place at the right time and also that he had gone to the right schools – Harrow School in England and The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in the United States.

He tells of how at these schools he met and befriended Arab royalty, describing the relationship as being important since how they became friends at such a young age created a great amount of trust between them.

His private equity fund, called The Wyndon Group, started off with a capital of US$25mil (RM79.7mil) from his family and nine other investors made up of his schoolmates and their families. Low, 28, is the third and youngest child in the family of Datuk Larry Low, who founded the engineering company MWE.

Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low (not J-Lo Jeniffer Lopez)!!!
Age: 28
Place of birth: Penang
Height: 1.7m
Weight: 88kg
Languages: English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Hokkien, Teo Chew and Basic Arabic

Primary: Union Primary School
Secondary: Chung Ling High School/Uplands School (O-Levels) Harrow School, London (1998-2000) (A-Levels)
Tertiary: The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2000-2005) (Bachelor of Science in Economics majoring in Finance)


 At the age of 20, started an investment company called The Wynton Group with US$25mil from family and South-East Asian and Middle Eastern friends. The investment company in which he owns a stake is now worth in excess of US$1bil.

 Appointed to the board of UBG Bhd as group adviser and non-independent & non-executive director in 2008.

 Group adviser to several international corporations involved in global private equity, M&A and buyouts.

Amazingly Jho has no website and Twitter, unlike millions of people out there!!!

Jho Low has made millions in the past eight years but he has done it without a website or Twitter account.

“No, that’s definitely not mine,” he said when asked whether the website was his.

“I don’t have a Twitter account and I do not have a website either. But I notice that many web and blog sites carry my name. But they’re not mine.”

In the 2-hour interview with The Star, Low took great pains to give a clear picture of his personal background.

“I was a state swimmer. I swam the backstroke for my primary school,” volunteered Low, when the discussion turned to him being described as chubby by the international media. He weighs 88kg and is 170cm tall.

Giving a big grin, Low said he was a swimmer until he arrived in the US in 2000. Then he started eating huge portions like an American.

He said he had quite an ordinary childhood and lived in Penang until he was 16. His parents then sent him to study at Harrow School, which boasts of having educated seven British prime ministers.

Low said he cherished his younger years in Penang but readily admits that “in terms of maturing into a business person,” it was from the time he was at Harrow until the Wharton School of Business.

Paris Hilton just part of the group

Jho is not going out with Paris Hilton but they have been to several parties together because he is a friend of her parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton.

That was Jho Low’s reply when asked about his relationship with Paris.

“You can ask her yourself if you have any doubt. She just happens to be part of the group,” he added.

Low spent a long time in the interview dismissing talk that he was “wasting a lot of money partying”.

“For me, we all work very hard. Of course, we have a disadvantage where at our age, people may perceive it differently. At the end of the day, I handle the investors’ money prudently. I generate returns for them.

“I am not an excessive person. Excessiveness with alcohol is just not me.”

In the interview, Jho was asked further about Paris Hilton :

Question : Lets talk about Paris Hilton. Are the two of you dating?

Answer : Rick and Kathy Hilton, Paris and Nikki’s parents, are a prominent real estate family based out of LA and I was introduced to the family by a good friend of mine. I have actually known the family for a while now. So that was how I know the children. The girls were on this trip with a whole list of other people, about 40-plus people. We had very prominent and successful friends from Russia, Kazakhstan and the Middle East too. We are all in the same group and we introduced ourselves to each other.

Question : During the World Cup in South Africa, did you have a corporate box at Johannesburg Soccer Citystadium?

Answer : First, there was some talk that I chartered a plane from London to South Africa. Just for clarification, I did not charter a plane but I was on a chartered flight with close to 20-30 people. What’s important to realise is half the time or most of the time, I’m with my investors or the children of my investors or together with a bunch of friends that have worked very hard to build their own entrepreneurial businesses or inherited from their parents. They have very good lifestyles and I guess, I’m fortunate in some ways because I get to enjoy their lifestyles but unfortunately I’m painted as the one that is leading an excessive kind of lifestyle.

Question : There is another story that you are not interested in Paris but in Nicky Hilton.

Answer : That’s factually not true. I actually know Nicky’s boyfriend. He is called David Katzenberg, the father is actually one of the founders of Dreamworks (Studios).

Meanwhile Paris Hilton denies she's been paid USD $1 million to party with mysterious billionaire Jho Low in St. Tropez.

The New York Post reported that despite rampant rumors on the French Riviera that the big-spending Malaysian was paying Hilton to have her lounge topless on his yacht and spray champagne with him at spots including exclusive club Les Caves du Roy, her representative said: "They are friends. Jho has invited Paris and her sister, Nicky, out to St. Tropez as friends. He has not paid her in any way, although he is extremely generous."

Jho was also asked on his relationship with Lindsay Lohan :

Question : Did you send Cristal champagne to Lindsay Lohan?

Answer : I think there is a pattern of trying to paint me as this person who orders a lot of champagne excessively. But I think the fact is to realise that these are special instances where different events have been held and in many cases not organised by me. One point I want to clarify for certain is neither me nor my brother spent in excess of US$2mil in St Tropez. That is 100% factually not true, for sure. It was 40-50 of us friends who ordered some drinks and had a good relaxing night. For me, we all work very hard. Of course, we have a disadvantage where at our age, people may perceive it differently. At the end of the day, I run my investors’ money prudently. I generate returns for them. I am not an excessive person but I do have my breaks for relaxation with friends.

Jho was also asked about him being the international man of mystery and the effect of the publicity :

Q: So you are not this international man of mystery?

A: I guess I was known as the international man of mystery because nothing is known about me. And I hope after today, it addresses a lot of points.

Q: All this publicity, has it helped or hindered you?

A: A lot of people have talked to me about it and if it will affect my business because some of my investors are from Islamic countries. Firstly, an important key point is trust. If you don’t trust me, you won’t trust me to invest in me. Second, it is a gross exaggeration of facts. Third, with the amount media attention, although it has been very challenging on me, it is through this rising above from challenges that we learn to better ourselves, so I decided that it was an opportune time to come out and state the facts.

Q: Your father was quoted in Chinese newspapers as asking you to lie low. Did he?

A: I spoke to my father and I was actually informed that he did not talk to the press. I think maybe that was a casual conversation or misquote, I’m not sure. But I have spoken to my parents and of course they were quite concerned with all the publicity and how that may negatively impact us. As what I learnt in business school, in life if you don’t take challenges, you will never grow. I think it served an important experience for me in self-improvement.

Jho was also asked about his birthday party at the Ceasar's Palace, Las Vegas :

Question : Was there a US$160,000 bill in Avenue (nightclub)?

Answer : I think factually there was a party being thrown for a friend’s engagement which I was told cost around US$160,000. Left to me, I would not spend that kind of money.

Question : So what about your birthday party in Las Vegas?

Answer : It was actually a group of my close friends; some of them were my investors who threw me this surprise party which I must say was memorable and phenomenal and I was very surprised by it. I guess that is what good friends are for. It was for my 28th birthday last November.

Question : Did you guys book almost the entire Caesar’s Palace for this?

Answer : No, it was a party they threw for me at the poolside of Caesar’s Palace.

Jho also talks about how he get super rich and worth Billions at the tender age of 28 :

Question : You did your A-Levels at Harrow. How important was that to you being who you are today?

Answer : There were a few key relationships which I started to develop there. Harrow had lots of children of prominent European, Asian and Middle Eastern families. That’s when I met the former King of Jordan’s son, among others.

That time was a very important time for me. That’s when I felt that I built the core foundation of contacts for the future. That’s quite important, because that’s when you know them as friends and you build the trust level for the future as opposed to meeting someone during the course of your business life.

After Harrow I went to Wharton and expanded my network. Throughout the course from 1998 to 2005, it turned out to be a key development period. I believe in hard work and persistence.

But admittedly, success is also attributable to being at the right place and right time and meeting the right people coupled with a trusting relationship.

Q: Tell us about your time in The Wynton Group.

A: I took a semester off when I was in Wharton to start an investment company called The Wynton Group. It had an initial capital of US$25mil (RM79.8mil) mainly provided by my family and close Middle Eastern and South-East Asian friends.

We started out with mainly portfolio investments around the world. Subsequently, we decided to move from just buying and selling public shares to private equity.

As of today, Wynton’s investments stand in excess of US$1bil. When I started the company I was still in university, I had a SOHO, home-office type concept. Subsequently, it was formalised and we had offices in Malaysia, Singapore and headquarters in British Virgin Island.

Q: What were the best stocks you invested in?

A: The funny thing is, when I was in university, I wrote a couple of articles for the Wharton journal. Some recommendations turned out well, some were terrible. Wharton educates you to look at a diverse portfolio. At the end of the day, it was about returns and diversification.

Q: In the Middle East, which countries do you spend the majority of your time?

A: I started with the relationships I built during the days I spent in London, particularly with good friends in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. I see a lot of opportunities for Malaysians, especially in the Middle East, just purely because there is so much liquidity and capital and vice versa from Middle East to Malaysia, which is where my interest is.

Ultimately, I am Malaysian. I am one who does not forget my country and I think there is a lot we can do for Malaysia. But when you build the trust of investors, you need to deliver what you promised.

Q: So who is this person that you know in Abu Dhabi?

A: I have a lot of close friends and close contacts in Abu Dhabi. In particular, I am very good friends with His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, who was formerly the director of international relations at the Crown Prince’s court and he is currently the ambassador for UAE to the US and Mexico. Yousef is the son of Dr Mana Al Otaiba who is the first oil minister for the UAE.

Hmmm.. Good Luck Jho-Low... Paris Hilton is definitely smitten by you..!!!

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