Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Monday released several documents he claims are proof that Saudi royalty had donated US$100 million (RM304.5 million) to him in 2011.
- Two transactions were allegedly by ‘Prince Faisal’ – a name that does not exactly match the name of any member of the Saudi royal family
- DoJ claimed Najib’s bank account received funds on the same dates as ‘Faisal’s’ 2011 transactions, but the money came from a bank account held in the name of ‘Saudi Associates 1 & 2’ who are Saudi nationals, associates of Jho Low and his proxy Eric Tan
- Najib claims he will show proof for the controversial RM2.6 donation
The document which was uploaded on Najib’s Facebook page revealed that a donation totalling US$100 million (RM304.5 million) was made to him, as per the contents of a letter written by Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Saud dated February 1, 2011.
The letter, which was addressed to Najib’s residence in Jalan Langgak Duta, stated that the donation was made to Najib to recognise his contribution to the Islamic world.
“In view of the friendship that we have developed over the years and your new ideas as a modern Islamic leader, I hereby grant you a sum of United States Dollars One Hundred Million (USD100,000,000) Only (“Gift”) which shall be remitted to you at such times and in such manner as I deem fit.
“You shall have absolute discretion to determine how the Gift shall be utilised and I am confident that your actions will continue to promote Islam so it continues to flourish. This is merely a small gesture on my part but it is my way of contributing to the development of Islam to the world.
“This letter is issued as a gesture of good faith and for clarification, I do not expect to receive any personal benefit whether directly or indirectly as a result of the Gift. The Gift should not in any event be construed as an act of corruption since this is against the practice of Islam and I personally do not encourage such practices in any manner whatsoever.
“This is merely a personal token of appreciation and I am hoping that the Gift would encourage you to continue with your good work to promote Islam around the world,” the letter by Abdul Aziz read.
The document bearing the letterhead of the private office of Prince ‘Saud Abdulaziz Majid Al Saud’ has the signature of Prince ‘Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud’.
The letter is similar in style and wording to the letter revealed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 2016, but the ABC letter was dated Nov 1, 2011, instead and pledged US$375 million.
The broadcaster reported that Prince Abdulaziz Majid had pledged various sums of cash at various times, ranging from US$100 million on Feb 1, 2011, to US$800 million on March 1, 2013.
Najib in his post said that the Saudi royal family decided to make the donation following the Arab Spring uprising in late 2010 among Muslim nations in the Middle East and in Africa, including nations that were allies with Saudi Arabia.
“The late King Abdullah was very worried at the time and had sought to pay leaders and Islamic governments a large sum of money to preserve stability. At that time, oil prices were high and Saudi Arabia had earned a lot of revenue from it,” he said.
Najib added that the money which was given to him was used for Barisan Nasional’s political purposes, adding that it includes the vans that were bought by Umno Johor.
He also said that the Feb 2011 letter was the first of many other letters sent by the same prince which include other donations in the subsequent years.
The other documents posted by Najib are four Swift messages, each detailing transactions to Najib’s AmPrivate Banking account in 2011, totalling almost US$100 million.
Two of the documents named ‘Prince Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Alsaud’ as the remitter of the funds, totalling US$20 million. These transactions were made on Feb 23, 2011, and June 10, 2011, for US$10 million each.
However, it is not clear which member of the Saudi royal family ‘Prince Faisal’ is.
The name does not exactly match the name of any person who can immediately be identified as a member of the Saudi royal family.
There appears to be a Prince Faisal bin Bandar, who is the present governor of Riyadh, and a Prince Faisal bin Turki, who is the founder of the kingdom’s first environmental NGO, the Global Strategic Studies Institute, but no reference can be found for a Prince Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Alsaud.
In its court filings, The US Department of Justice (DoJ) had claimed that Najib’s bank account had received US$10 million on the same dates as Faisal’s 2011 transactions.
However, it said the money came from a bank account held in the name of ‘Saudi Associates 1 & 2’ who are described as Saudi nationals and associates of Jho Low and his associate and proxy, Eric Tan.
The DOJ said money in the Saudi bank account originated from 1MDB and had been misappropriated in the ‘Good Star Phase’ of the scandal.
Meanwhile, another two documents provided by Najib named the Saudi Ministry of Finance as the source of the funds, totalling nearly US$80 million.
Najib said he was sharing the documents to clear his name of accusations and slander.
He revealed that he and his lawyer spent a long time to obtain the bank statements and documents, just for the 2011 donations alone.
“The Saudi Foreign Ministry had twice confirmed openly that their government had presented a donation to me without conditions.
“Around two months ago, (prime minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was disappointed when the Saudi government declined to deny that the RM2.6 billion was indeed a donation to me.
“In my coming Facebook status or through a media interview, I will explain in detail while also showing proof that will explain the donation that I received after 2011, including the RM2.6 billion issue,” he said.
Mahathir was previously reported as saying that there was no proof to either confirm or deny that the RM2.6 billion had originated from Saudi Arabia.
The donation, which was first reported some three years ago by The Wall Street Journal, sent the country into a flurry over Najib’s alleged role in money laundering from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.