If you ever thought the speculation surrounding controversial Malaysian businessman Jho Low was going to fade away anytime soon, think again.
A television series based on the bestselling book Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World is said to currently be in production, with producers including Beau Willimon – the showrunner for House of Cards series – and Jordan Tappis from Westward.
Acclaimed Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh is also named as a producer for the series, with Tony-award winner David Henry Hwang (writer of M.Butterfly) in charge of the screenplay. The team have also partnered with SK Global – the company responsible for partly bankrolling Crazy Rich Asians.
Originally, Billion Dollar Whale was written by award-winning Wall Street Journal journalists Tom Wright and Bradley hope, based upon the shenanigans of Penang-born Jho Low – whom U.S.-based prosecutors allege to be the main man behind the 1MDB scandal.
The scandal saw approximately US$5 billion worth of funds stolen from Malaysia’s sovereign investment fund, and ranks among one of the largest fraud cases in history, with authorities in Malaysia, Singapore, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the U.S. all still investigating.
More recently, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been put to trial for his part in the whole scandal, with the courts already finding him guilty on multiple counts of corruption and criminal wrongdoing.
He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was fined close to US$50 million (MYR210 million), although he has appealed his sentence and is awaiting the verdict which is set to be delivered on December 8 this year.
As for the television series, SK Global’s John Penotti and Charlie Corwin – both to produce the series alongside Willimon and Tappis – said, “It’s hard to overstate the cultural impact of this story in Asia and around the world.”
“It’s both a tale of financial greed and deceit, and a darkly comedic social satire,” they added. “We are excited to build on this talented team as we move forward.”
The series has yet to reveal a cast or a release timeline, although many Malaysians (as well as audiences from other countries) will be eager to see if any of their favorite actors get chosen to play the role of Jho Low or Najib Razak.