Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright
  • Title: Billion Dollar Whale
  • Subtitle: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World
  • Author(s): Tom Wright, Bradley Hope
  • Publisher: Hachette UK
  • Year: 2018-09-18
  • ISBN-10: 0316436488
  • ISBN-13: 9780316436489


“Billion Dollar Whale” by Tom Wright is a gripping and meticulously researched account that delves into the incredible true story of Jho Low, a Malaysian financier who became the center of one of the biggest financial scandals of our time. Co-authored by Bradley Hope, this book unravels the audacious and high-stakes world of money laundering, corruption, and greed at an unprecedented scale.

Through extensive interviews, access to confidential documents, and a keen investigative eye, Wright presents a comprehensive and compelling narrative that follows Jho Low’s rise from obscurity to orchestrating the theft of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB. With a captivating storytelling style, the authors shed light on the incredible intricacies of the scheme that involved influential politicians, high-profile celebrities, and international banks. “Billion Dollar Whale” not only exposes the inner workings of the financial machinery used to hide the stolen money but also explores the symbiotic relationship between powerful individuals, corporations, and governments that allowed this scandal to unfold. This book is a gripping expos√© that uncovers the dark side of wealth and power, leaving readers astounded and dismayed by the ease with which individuals can manipulate the global financial system.

Book Review

“Billion Dollar Whale” by Tom Wright is a riveting and meticulously detailed account of one of the most shocking financial scams of our time. Co-authored by Bradley Hope, this book takes readers on a rollercoaster ride through the world of high finance, corruption, and staggering wealth.

The book centers around Jho Low, a young Malaysian financier, who masterminds the theft of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB. Wright’s extensive research, including interviews with key players and access to classified documents, allows him to present a comprehensive and authoritative narrative. Through his storytelling abilities, he brings to life the audacity and complexity of the scheme.

The authors provide several fascinating examples to illustrate the scope and impact of Jho Low’s activities. One of the most striking examples is the purchase of a luxury yacht, named The Equanimity, worth $250 million. Low used stolen funds to buy this extravagant vessel, which epitomized his lavish lifestyle. Wright vividly describes the yacht, complete with a cinema, helipad, and VIP suites. The yacht symbolizes the excesses that were made possible by the stolen wealth, highlighting the stark contrast between Low’s opulent lifestyle and the poverty endured by Malaysians.

Another poignant example is the involvement of well-known personalities, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Paris Hilton, in Jho Low’s grand illusion. Wright recounts how Low used stolen money to finance blockbuster Hollywood movies, throwing lavish parties attended by celebrities who were unwittingly becoming pawns in his scheme. The involvement of these celebrities, some of whom later faced legal consequences, brings to light the extent of Low’s influence and his ability to manipulate people from all walks of life.

Wright’s writing style keeps readers engaged as he navigates the complex web of corruption and deceit. He weaves together a gripping narrative that not only exposes the numerous individuals and institutions complicit in the scandal but also sheds light on the broader issues of money laundering, weak regulatory enforcement, and the substantial power wielded by the ultra-wealthy.

However, what sets this book apart is its ability to humanize the victims of this grand heist. Wright highlights the impact on everyday Malaysians who suffered as the stolen money could have been used to uplift struggling communities and invest in public services. By showing the devastating consequences of the theft, the author allows readers to empathize with those affected and underscores the urgency of holding those responsible accountable.

On the whole, “Billion Dollar Whale” is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the dark underbelly of high finance and the alarming ways in which wealthy individuals can exploit the system. Tom Wright’s meticulous research, engaging storytelling, and unflinching portrayal of the scandal make this book an enlightening and thought-provoking read.

Word Count: 452

Target Audience

The book “Billion Dollar Whale” by Tom Wright is targeted at a wide range of audiences interested in the world of finance, corruption, and high-stakes scandals. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • True Crime Readers The book offers a gripping and meticulously researched account of one of the largest financial scams in modern history. Fans of true crime stories will be captivated by the audacity and complexity of the scheme, making it an intriguing read.

  • Business and Finance Professionals “Billion Dollar Whale” provides valuable insights into the inner workings of the global financial system and the methods employed by individuals to hide stolen money. This makes it recommended reading for those working in finance, as it helps expose the vulnerabilities and highlights the importance of robust regulatory systems.

  • Political and Social Critics The book uncovers the symbiotic relationship between powerful individuals, corporations, and governments, shedding light on the systemic issues that enable corruption to flourish. It provides a compelling case study on the perils of unchecked power and the consequences faced by ordinary citizens.

  • Global Affairs and Governance Scholars Academics and researchers interested in examining the interplay between economics, politics, and international relations will find “Billion Dollar Whale” to be a valuable resource. The book explores the impact of corruption on nations and the challenges faced in addressing illicit financial flows.

In conclusion, “Billion Dollar Whale” by Tom Wright is highly recommended reading as it offers a captivating and exhaustive account of the 1MDB scandal, providing insights into the inner workings of finance, the manipulation of power, and the far-reaching impact of corruption. It serves as a cautionary tale and a call to action for vigilance and transparency in the realm of global finance.