KUALA LUMPUR • Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has applied to a United States court to obtain the names of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) officials who were bribed by a former partner of Goldman Sachs Group in Asia.
His lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that their names would help the defence prove that the prosecution witnesses lacked credibility and were merely instruments of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.
Low, perceived as the mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal, has been in hiding since 2016.
Najib, who faces 42 counts of corruption and money laundering related to the 1MDB scandal, is currently being tried for four criminal charges of bribery totalling RM2.28 billion (S$749 million) and 21 other charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
He was convicted of seven charges by the Malaysian High Court in July last year. He is appealing that conviction.
Tan Sri Shafee had sought to postpone the trial this week to allow the defence time to seek documents from the US court. However, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah denied his application and ordered the trial to continue.
Mr Shafee said information on the alleged bribery of 1MDB officials by former Goldman executive Tim Leissner would have a huge impact on the current trial.
The defence submitted a request for documents and testimony for such information through a Manhattan court on Nov 17 last year.
"In the proceedings in the US where Leissner and Goldman Sachs pleaded guilty, Leissner had actually said and admitted to the fact that he had paid bribes to several officials in 1MDB.
"We have therefore filed a discovery application and asked Leissner and Goldman Sachs to reveal the names of those that they have bribed," Mr Shafee said.
He said the defence planned to recall several witnesses, including former 1MDB chief executive officer Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, to the stand for cross-examination upon obtaining the relevant documents from the US application.
"This is extremely relevant because I have asked Shahrol pertaining to why he simply follows what Jho Low says," Mr Shafee said.
Today, Najib will be by his wife Rosmah Mansor's side when the High Court delivers its decision in her corruption trial.
The 69-year-old is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million in bribes and two counts of receiving a total of RM6.5 million in exchange for helping a company, Jepak Holdings, win a RM1.25 billion contract for a solar hybrid project for the supply of electricity to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
Mr Shafee told Justice Sequerah that Najib wishes to attend Rosmah's court case before attending his own 1MDB trial.
Rosmah will know today whether she will be acquitted or will have to enter her defence.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK