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Witness tells court 1MDB, bank officials did not conspire to defraud Najib

Publish date: Sat, 25 May 2024, 09:20 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) management and several bank officers did not conspire to defraud former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Malaysians regarding 1MDB’s investment monies, the High Court was told today.

An investigating officer from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Senior Superintendent Nur Aida Ariffin, 37, refuted a claim by Najib’s counsel Wan Azwan Aiman Wan Fakhruddin that former 1MDB chief executive officer Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and its former chief financial officer Azmi Tahir had orchestrated a charade with BSI Bank & Aabar Investments PJS Ltd officers to deceive Najib that 1MDB investment monies were coming back into the company in 2014.

Wan Azwan Aiman: Azmi and Mohd Hazem both held high posts in 1MDB and they knew that 1MDB funds were for overseas investments purportedly held by Brazen Sky Ltd. That was only a charade because it did not exist.

Nur Aida: Disagree.

Wan Azwan Aiman: It is a sham they orchestrated to give the illusion that investments in the portfolios have been redeemed.

Nur Aida: Disagree.

Wan Azwan Aiman: With the help of BSI bank officers and Aabar officers, they have succeeded in orchestrating a charade to convince Datuk Seri Najib and the public that 1MDB investment monies have been redeemed.

Nur Aida: Disagree.

The 49th prosecution witness also did not agree with a suggestion that the real reason 1MDB had applied for a loan from Deutsche Bank was to give the impression to Najib that 1MDB had redeemed its overseas investments.

On November 16, 2021, Azmi, the 12th prosecution witness, testified that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low had briefed Najib not to speak too much about 1MDB regarding the investment made to Brazen Sky Ltd during a meeting with audit firm KPMG Malaysia.

Brazen Sky Ltd is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by Jho Low and his associates on July 12, 2012, to repatriate investment monies by 1MDB.

According to Azmi, Najib also questioned KPMG for still raising suspicion on the ‘underlying assets’ of the Brazen Sky investment when BSI Bank itself had shown the investment statement during the meeting with the audit firm.

Meanwhile, during today’s proceedings, Nur Aida admitted that she did not refer Najib to several documents purportedly signed by the former Pekan MP in relation to the US$975 million (RM4.5 billion) loan obtained from Deustche Bank during Najib’s statement recording throughout her investigation.

Nur Aida, however, said that although she had never consulted the documents involved, she knew that Najib had signed the documents based on the interrogation conducted against Mohd Hazem.

Najib, 70, is facing four charges, namely using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Monday. — Bernama

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