Najib knew of fund source: Witness

Lawyers for Malaysian leader Najib Razak, who has pleaded not guilty, argued that he was misled by others, including a former CEO of SRC who is at large.
Lawyers for Malaysian leader Najib Razak, who has pleaded not guilty, argued that he was misled by others, including a former CEO of SRC who is at large.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR • Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak's 1MDB ongoing trial shed light on his links to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, in deals involving a former unit of the troubled state fund.

A Kuala Lumpur court heard dozens of witness testimonies related to the RM42 million (S$14 million) found in Najib's personal accounts that allegedly came from SRC International, once a unit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Lawyers for Najib, who has pleaded not guilty, argued that he was misled by others, including a former chief executive of SRC who is at large.

The current trial revolves around seven of the 42 charges in total that Najib faces for his alleged role in 1MDB. His next trial is set to begin on Aug 19 after the judge rejected Attorney-General Tommy Thomas' request for a delay until after the current proceedings are completed.

The trial was interrupted last Thursday as the court was evacuated due to a bomb threat.

The 1MDB hearing for Goldman Sachs Group was pushed back to Sept 30 as the process of filing the charges was incomplete.

While Najib has denied knowing the source of the RM42 million, the court heard from a witness that the former premier had sent an affidavit in February 2016 showing he knew the money came through SRC units Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana.

Separately, former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu said that Low was her point of contact in sorting out issues with Najib's accounts.

Ms Yu confirmed fund transfers to the accounts, including a US$681 million (S$934 million) from Tanore Finance, of which US$620 million was returned with Low's direct involvement.

 
 
 

Ms Yu said Low was the one who represented the funds as gifts or donations and provided supporting letters from the alleged senders. That was also the case for another US$75 million transfer that Low described as "super sensitive" and said would be followed by a supporting letter from Saudi Arabia, she said.

Low, whose whereabouts are not known, has denied any wrongdoing in response to multiple charges filed against him in Malaysia and the United States.

BLOOMBERG

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2019, with the headline 'Najib knew of fund source: Witness'. Print Edition | Subscribe