The story had it all: sex, drugs and a stunning teenage model who plunged, naked, 14 floors to her death from the home of an American cryptocurrency tycoon and his glamorous wife in the booming Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. As news of the violent end of Ivana Smit, 18, flashed around the world, it grew in the telling, spawning claims the Dutch citizen had been murdered, and that her killers were being protected by corrupt police.
Adding fuel to the fire was a British former policeman and TV celebrity, Mark Williams-Thomas, who made the 2012 TV documentary which exposed the crimes of Jimmy Savile. Working with UK lawyer David Wells, he travelled to KL and compiled – at a cost of £8,000 – an unofficial report for Ivana’s family. Last week Wells issued a press release, headlined: ‘Model’s fatal fall was no accident, conclude St Albans solicitor and private investigator duo.’ They say they have ‘no doubt’ that in Britain, Ivana’s death would be treated as homicide.
But was it? Absent from every account so far of Ivana’s death on December 7 is a single word from the last people who saw her alive, and from whose 20th floor balcony she plunged: Alex Johnson, 44, and his Kazakh wife, Luna, 31. Last week, they gave their first interview to The Mail on Sunday.
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Luna Almaz, left and her husband Alexander Amado Johnson, right, have been questioned by police in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia following the death of Dutch model Ivana Smit
Some may find their story shocking. They admit they both first had sex with Ivana weeks earlier, and conducted a threesome with her shortly before she died. They admit, too, that all three had been drinking heavily, and they knew Ivana had been taking drugs. Yet they are also adamant that her death – as the KL police have maintained from the outset – was not murder, but a tragic accident.
‘This case is an object lesson in how false claims and fake news can come close to destroying people,’ Alex claims. He showed the MoS the numerous death threats he has received since the murder claim was publicised, and describes a chilling attempt to kidnap the couple’s daughter, aged five: ‘A man phoned our nanny, Maha, saying he was Luna’s father and would be picking her up from school. Luna’s father died before she was born.
‘We never intended to make the details of our marriage public. Now we fear our own lives are in danger, and we have no choice.’
Ivana first met Alex and Luna last Halloween at Prime, a nightclub in KL. Alex had been working with cryptocurrency firm Everus since early 2017, and living in KL for a decade. He met Luna, a lawyer’s daughter who works in education, in 2010.
Ivana Smit, pictured, plunged to her death on December 7 in Kuala Lumpur. Her family have hired investigators to look into the incident
Ivana’s life had been less settled. When she was three, her parents, Karen and Marcel, sent her from Holland to live with her grandparents Hendrik and Susan Smit in Penang, 180 miles north of KL. The family spokesman, Ivana’s uncle Fred Weinhold, says they were ‘working 24 hours a day’ on Marcel’s second-hand car business, and so the arrangement made sense.
When Ivana turned 13, Weinhold says, she returned to her parents, now living in Limburg, Belgium, and enrolled in a local school. But unhappy there, she was soon back in Malaysia. At 16, she went to Belgium again, this time for two years. According to Weinhold, she ‘tried to become a European. She had a Belgian boyfriend, and moved in with him’.
Tall and beautiful, she reached the last round of TV show Belgium’s Top Model: ‘But it didn’t work out with the boyfriend and she went to Malaysia again. She promised she would be in Belgium for the contest final. She came back in a casket.’ When Ivana met the Johnsons, she had been back in Malaysia for just two days.
Weinhold and Ivana’s friends agree she behaved like someone much older than her years. ‘She thought she had wisdom. But really, she was naive,’ Weinhold says.
According to hotelier Robert Khoo, who knew her for several years, she liked to party: ‘She had to slow down but she never did. She was wild, having fun without being aware of the dangers.’
At Prime, Luna says, Ivana was introduced to the Johnsons by a mutual acquaintance. ‘She asked me to stand up and dance with her,’ Luna says. ‘We weren’t kissing, but we were doing sexy moves.’ Luna is bisexual. The Johnsons have what they term a ‘progressive’ marriage, and had enjoyed previous ‘three-way’ flings. Alex says: ‘I could see what was happening. Then Ivana said, “Your wife is awesome.” She was quite bold.’ Luna adds: ‘She was beautiful, charming, confident. I was already melting.’
Ivana's devastated father Marcel (centre) his wife Christina (left) and their son Randy (right) watch a video of her last moments shown to them by Dailymail.com
Tragic: Teenage model Ivana Smit was found naked on the ground outside an apartment in Kuala Lumpur. She had been at an apartment belonging to cryptocurrency trader Alexander Johnson and his Indonesian model wife
The Johnsons say earlier relationships of this kind had been brief, but with Ivana, the involvement was closer. They showed the MoS a WhatsApp group the three set up on their phones, which contains much explicit flirting. But Luna says: ‘We had a real connection. When we sat down to talk, I felt I’d known her for ever. She said she was 26. I didn’t question her age.’
On November 4, the Johnsons arranged overnight babysitting, and they say the trio spent the night at the Concorde Hotel. It seemed to go well. ‘Hey sexy what are u doing?’ Ivana texted Luna the next day, ‘Thanks for last night.’ ‘Hey love, thank u,’ Luna replied. ‘Hoping to catch up again soon.’
Meanwhile, Ivana was staying with friends and getting jobs – not just photoshoots, but paid ‘models night’ appearances at KL clubs. On December 6 she went to a models night at Mantra, a penthouse club with a dramatic view of the city. Her agent, who asked not to be named, was there too and claims: ‘At first she was OK, but she was looking for drugs. She wanted ecstasy.’
Alex arrived shortly afterwards, followed by Luna. Mantra’s CCTV – seen