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Shahrol: I was never arrested by authorities

Publish date: Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 07:32 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (April 15): Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, a former director of SRC International Sdn Bhd, told the court on Monday that while his statements had been recorded by the authorities in connection with the operations of the former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary, he was never arrested on any charges.

Shahrol also said he was only barred from leaving the country, but that his passport was never impounded by the Immigration Department.

The 54-year-old was testifying as a third party in SRC’s US$1.18 billion (RM5.64 billion) civil suit against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the company's former chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

Shahrol said he was only made aware of the travel restrictions when he checked the Immigration Department's database, and saw that his name had been placed under the restricted list.

“I checked with the Immigration [database]. Then only I saw my name under travel restrictions. I have never been arrested. Actually, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission took my statements in 2015, but I was not detained," he said when queried by Najib's counsel Harvinderjit Singh.

Shahrol, who also once served as 1MDB's chief executive officer and testified in Najib’s ongoing 1MDB-Tanore criminal trial as a key witness, said the overseas travel restrictions were only placed on him from July 2018 until early 2020.

During this trial's proceedings on Monday, Shahrol said he was never charged with any criminal liability in the SRC case, or any other cases pertaining to 1MDB.

SRC is suing Najib and Nik Faisal, with the latter currently at large, over a RM4 billion Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) loan given out to SRC in two tranches - one in the second half of 2011 and the other in the first half of 2012. SRC filed the suit in May 2021.

SRC alleged that Najib, who was SRC’s emeritus adviser from May 1, 2012 until March 4, 2019, had abused his power and obtained personal benefits from SRC’s funds as well as misappropriated the funds. SRC, which is now wholly owned by Minister of Finance Inc, wants a declaration from the court that Naijib is liable for the company’s losses due to his breach of duties and trust.

SRC claimed that out of the total KWAP loan of RM4 billion, RM3.6 billion was immediately transferred out when the funds came into SRC, of which US$120 million ended up in Najib’s bank account.

SRC's lead counsel Datuk Lim Chee Wee told the court at the start of the trial that the RM3.6 billion had flowed into a Swiss BSI account, followed by elaborate transactions with Enterprise Emerging Markets Fund in Curacao, and then to Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Ltd in the British Virgin Islands, and then to Singapore, where the US$120 million made its way into Najib’s bank account.

Hence, SRC is also seeking an order that Najib pay the US$1.18 billion in losses it suffered, and damages for breach of duties and trust, including an order that Najib compensate the company for the sum of US$120 million that allegedly went into his bank account.

SRC has obtained a judgement in default against Nik Faisal, who was named as Najib’s proxy, in the civil suit.

Initially, the suit also named Datuk Mohammed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Shahrol, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Datuk Suboh Md Yassin and Datuk Che Abdullah @ Rashidi Che Omar as defendants. Though they were later dropped from the case, Najib brought them back again as third parties. A defendant can seek to do so in order to claim contribution, indemnity or any remedy which is claimed by the plaintiff.

Najib, meanwhile, has been jailed since Aug 23, 2022. He was sentenced to serve a 12-year jail sentence and fined RM210 million after being convicted of misappropriating RM42 million of SRC's funds. But his jail sentence was recently reduced to six years, while the fine was cut to RM50 million by the Pardons Board.

The trial will continue on Wednesday before High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin.

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