CEO Morning Brief

Najib’s Lawyer Says Former PM wasn’t a Party in Kuwaiti Proceedings

Publish date: Thu, 18 May 2023, 08:42 AM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief

KUALA LUMPUR (May 17): A lawyer representing Datuk Seri Najib Razak told a Malaysian news portal on Wednesday (May 17) that the former prime minister’s testimony was not heard in the recent Kuwaiti court proceedings, as he was not one of the five defendants, namely fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho and four other Kuwaitis, who were charged and found guilty.

Muhammad Farhan Shafee was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini that he cannot comment on the merits of the allegations concerning 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), as the case is still ongoing.

The Edge Malaysia weekly, citing Kuwaiti court documents, reported over the weekend that Malaysia had signed inflated infrastructure projects with state-owned Chinese companies, in exchange for their undertaking to pay the massive debts of 1MDB, the payments for which were routed through several bank accounts owned by Kuwaiti individuals, in a bid to hide the true intent.

“However, it is important to note that Najib was not a party to the proceedings in Kuwait, so the allegations against him remain unchallenged and he does not have the benefit of his explanation or defence,” the news portal quoted Farhan as saying.

Najib was not part of the Kuwaiti proceedings, as he was not accused in the criminal money laundering case.

However, Najib’s name appeared in the Kuwaiti court documents in relation to the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) and the petroleum pipeline from Port Klang to Kuala Kedah, as well as the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline — the projects that are subject of the money-laundering case in question.

Low, or better known as Jho Low, along with two others including Sheikh Sabah Jaber — a son of the former Kuwaiti prime minister, and Jho Low’s friend Hamad Ali Hassan and another individual Bachar Kiwan, were sentenced to 10 years of jail with hard labour and also fined. Saud Abdullah Ahmed Abdel Mohsen, the lawyer in the deal, was sentenced to 7 years' jail.

Jho Low and Bachar were sentenced in absentia by the Kuwaiti court, as they were not present in the Kuwaiti proceedings.

The laundering of the monies from agreements signed in 2016 between Malaysia — represented by Najib, and the Chinese companies, occurred in Kuwait in 2017. The five defendants were subsequently prosecuted by the Kuwaiti authorities and the court handed its judgement last March.

Read also:
1MDB scandal: Mega projects signed with China, with funds laundered in Kuwait, says court

Source: TheEdge - 18 May 2023

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