Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 31

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1MDB transferred US$330m to Jho Low’s Good Star account.

9.55am: Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters the High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to await proceedings to begin.

Earlier, the former prime minister was attending a mention at a separate High Court for his 1MDB audit report tampering case.

10.17am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

His lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah resumes his cross-examination of former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Also seen in court is lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram and other members of the prosecution team.

11.45am: The court sees Shafee and Shahrol getting into an argument over 1MDB board of directors’ (BoD) approval for an additional RM1 billion loan to PSI Holdings on May 16, 2011.

This comes as Shafee’s line of questioning during his cross-examination of Shahrol, focuses on a directors’ circular resolution (DCR) signed by the company’s BoD on that date.

According to the DCR, the minute was signed on May 16, 2011, which was the same date when 1MDB board members had convened for a meeting in London.

Shahrol testifies that the DCR matter was mentioned during the meeting, and all board members had signed the paper after they concluded the meeting.

This brings Shafee to query Shahrol further on the need for a DCR when the board had already convened for a meeting.

“You know, DCR got no discussion. How DCR works is when you cannot convene a meeting, you issue a DCR.

“But here the directors are at the meeting, (they are at) the same table, it was a full turn up, why was this subject matter not discussed?” Shafee asks Shahrol.

The lawyer also points out to Shahrol that there was no evidence of the DCR being discussed by board members during the meeting as the meeting minutes had no mention of such discussion.

Shahrol, however, disputes this, stressing the board was fully aware of the DCR and that it was not recorded in the May 16, 2011 meeting minutes as they have deliberated about the matter during an earlier meeting.

Shafee then puts to the witness that this was not true, suggesting that the DCR matter was never raised in the meeting for board members to discuss.

Shafee: I’m putting to you this was purposely not put before the board, for the board to have a full discussion on DCR.

Shahrol: Absolutely disagree.

11.53pm: Shahrol disagrees with the defence’s assertion that 1MDB’s BoD recommended for its preference rights shareholder to sign an agreement to give additional RM1 billion investment in the 1MDB-Petrosaudi venture.

Shafee’s question is over Paragraph 311 of Shahrol’s Witness Statement which refers to a Special Rights Redeemable Preference Shareholder Resolution dated May 16, 2011.

In his Witness Statement, Shahrol testified that Najib signed an agreement for the additional RM1 billion investments in the 1MDB-Petrosaudi joint venture via Murabahah Financing Agreement.

“I do not agree the board (got) Najib to sign,” Shahrol says, adding that it is also wrong to suggest that the board unambiguously had recommended for Najib to sign.

12.35pm: Multiple incidents of short bursts of phones ringing during proceedings made High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah issue a stern warning.

The judge warns that the court will not hesitate to direct the court police officer to seize any phone that rings during trial.

“I will not hesitate to order the (court) police to confiscate the phones,” Sequerah warns, adding that it does not matter whose phone is it that rings during the proceedings.

12.41pm: The court adjourns for lunch break.

2.33pm: Proceedings resume after lunch break.

2.37pm: Shafee refers to a DCR dated May 16, 2011, which sought to approve 1MDB to invest an additional RM1 billion under the Murabahah financing agreement with 1MDB-PetroSaudi Ltd. The amount was equivalent to US$330 million. The witness confirms he signed the document.

2.43pm: The amount was guaranteed by PetroSaudi International (PSI), says Shahrol.

2.47pm: Shahrol says he discussed the purchase of the US currency with then 1MDB chief financial officer Radhi Mohamad. Radhi recommended that the amount be purchased in several tranches to ensure they get a good rate by not moving the market too much.

The payment was made through 1MDB’s AmBank and Deutsche Bank accounts in four tranches from May 20, 2011, to October 25, 2011.

3.02pm: Shahrol describes 1MDB’s former general counsel Jasmine Loo as being “on the lam”.

He testifies this when Shafee asks if he has seen Loo since the 1MDB scandal broke out.

Shafee: Do you know where Jasmine Loo is (now)?

Shahrol: She is on the lam.

Shafee: You have had no contact with her?

Shahrol: No.

The authorities are still seeking Loo and several alleged associates of Jho Low in relation to the probe into the 1MDB case.

Besides Loo, the authorities are also looking for 1MDB executive director Casey Tang, and the company’s director Terence Geh, among others.

Shahrol confirms document that showed that the final tranche of US$125 million on October 25, 2011, was in fact transferred to Good Star Ltd’s bank account. The document instructing the transfer was signed by Radhi. Investigators have said that Good Star is a Seychelles-based company controlled by Jho Low.

3.14pm: Shahrol says it was discovered later that PSI CEO Tarek Obaid had given the account number of Good Star, held by RBS Coutts Bank Ltd in Zurich, to 1MDB and that all the transmission of the US$330 million had made its way into Good Star.

3.17pm: Shahrol says he does not know why Radhi did not verify the account number given by PSI.

3.29pm: Shahrol refers to a query by AmBank on May 12, 2011, which sought to clarify the beneficiary of the first transfer, which it said was not PetroSaudi International.

He verifies a letter to 1MDB by Tarek, who wrote that the beneficiary was merely stated as “Account No. 11116073.2000”.

Shahrol says PSI never showed the account as being held by Good Star, which was the recipient of US$700 million in a 2009 joint venture between 1MDB and PSI.

Shahrol says he does not recognise the account number as he did not memorise it.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

On why PSI hid the identity of Good Star: “I cannot testify to why they did it. In hindsight, it is odd they did not just outright say Good Star as they did in the 2009 transaction.”

Shafee: You are sending a lot of money belonging to 1MDB. Not a small amount. We are now no longer in the bracket of millions, but billions. Not determining who is Good Star is negligence.

Shahrol: I disagree.

Shafee: Would you agree there is no diligence from your part?

Shahrol: Disagree.

3.35pm: Sri Ram objects to Shafee’s pattern of cross-examination on Shahrol.

Sri Ram informs judge Sequerah that Najib’s defence team must disclose the rationale of the defence’s questioning on the ninth prosecution witness.

Shafee had been cross-examining Shahrol for a total of 15 days, beginning from Oct 7 until today.

Shafee was previously reported to have said earlier this week that the defence has covered more than half of the questions they intend to ask Shahrol.

“We have been patiently listening to this. There must be a destination and rationale from my learned friend (Shafee on his cross-examination of Shahrol). They have to disclose it,” Sri Ram tells the court.

Shafee explains that the defence is trying to find out whether Shahrol and others in 1MDB had been wilfully blind and acting in a conspiracy with Jho Low.

The pattern of the cross-examination has the defence painting Low as being the main person behind the 1MDB dealings while Najib had been unaware of all this.

“The point is the whole of 1MDB, the CEO and accountant (Mohamed Radhi) and others.

“In spite of this being very obvious to any reader, his (Shahrol) suspicion (of transactions involving billions of ringgit from in and out of 1MDB) was not alerted.

“If this a professional lie, Shahrol can say in spite of this (he was) not suspicious.

“This same witness (Shahrol) made the same imputation on my client (Najib). Imputation (that Najib) knew Jho Low.

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“I want him (Shahrol) to swallow his own vomit,” Shafee says on his reasons to keep raising the same documents in court to question Shahrol.

Sequerah orders Shafee to keep the referring to documentation briefer and said there was no necessity to read the entire document again.

“Those matters are quite lengthy, no need to read (the entire document). Just summarise,” the judge tells Shafee, to which the lawyer agrees.

3.48pm: Shahrol agrees that by May 2011, the total amount transferred to both the joint venture company, 1MDB-PetroSaudi Ltd, and Good Star amounted to US$1.83 billion.

3.54pm: Court takes a short recess.

4.25pm: Court resumes.

4.28pm: Shahrol is referred to a letter of instruction from 1MDB to Deutsche Bank, dated May 26, 2011, for the remittance of US$110 million to RBS Coutts Bank Ltd Account No. 11116073.2000. The account was previously identified as belonging to Good Star.

4.35pm: Shahrol says of the US$330 million, only US$205 million was transferred in three tranches in May 2011 because 1MDB did not have enough funds.

The witness says there were not enough to fund Bandar Malaysia and KLIFB (Kuala Lumpur International Financial District) projects.

“I informed Jho (Low) about it. He informed me to send a letter to PetroSaudi to put it in black and white,” says Shahrol.

4.35pm: Shahrol considered Jho Low as a reliable channel of contact between him and Najib.

Shahrol testifies this during the cross-examination by Shafee.

Shafee is asking Shahrol why the latter did not take additional measures such as checking with the 1MDB board before agreeing to 1MDB sending a scheduled five additional tranches to 1MDB-Petrosaudi Limited between May and Oct 2011.

Shahrol testifies that he had relied on the representation by Jho Low in regard to this matter.

Najib was also then chairperson of the 1MDB board of advisors.

Shafee: Would it not have been prudent on your part to take it up with the board or to check with Najib himself?

Shahrol: At that time, I considered Jho (Low) to be a reliable channel of contact between me and Najib.

Shafee: You did not take extra measures to check on the issue or check with the board?

Shahrol: No (I did not).

4.39pm: The witness says Low told him then that PSI was disappointed and unhappy with the delay.

Shahrol says Low said “they complained to daddy”, which meant PSI co-founder Prince Turki Abdullah allegedly informing King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia of the delay.

4.44pm: Shahrol verifies that US$30 million was paid to Good Star on May 20, 2011; US$65 million on May 23, 2011; US$110 million on May 27, 2011; and US$125 million to October 25, 2011. The total amounts to US$330 million, he confirms.

5pm: Shafee makes a verbal application to the court to get a report prepared by Deloitte audit firm, where it valuated the Murabahah notes 1MDB had in its assets.

Based on the defence’s cross-examination of Shahrol, 1MDB had in 2013 engaged the services from Deloitte and another audit firm KPMG to mitigate risks to its investment in Murabahah notes.

Shahrol testifies that Deloitte had made an independent evaluation of the notes, which it values between RM4.7 billion and RM6.3 billion.

Shahrol, however, says he does not have the report by Deloitte with him, when asked by Shafee if he can bring it to court.

Shafee then makes a formal application for the prosecution to get the document, which he says is a “cornerstone whether there is any value to the Murabahah notes”.

5.36pm: Shahrol says after reading a series of news articles, including those published by The Edge in 2015, he began to question Low whether he owned Good Star.

Shahrol: I asked Jho to explain. But he said Good Star is owned by PetroSaudi and he will get PetroSaudi to write a letter to confirm.

The witness agrees with a suggestion by Shafee that a PSI letter later claiming ownership of Good Star was deceptive and false.

5.39pm: Shafee says he is done with this area of cross-examination.

He then requests for the court to allow for early adjournment than the scheduled 6.15pm for today, to allow him to start afresh with a new area of questioning on Monday.

5.40pm: Shafee tells judge Sequerah that the high court will rule on Monday whether Najib has to enter his defence in the SRC International trial. Shafee says a decision is expected at 10am.

Sequerah then tells the parties that the court will resume at 9am on Monday, 30 minutes earlier than usual, as Najib and the defence team would then need to appear before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who will deliver his decision whether to call Najib to enter his defence in the SRC International case.


Earlier reports:

Nov 6, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 28

Nov 4, 1MDB Trial: Judge Reprimands Najib After Tg Piai Trip

Oct 31, Najib Calls in Sick with Swollen Eyes, 1MDB Trial Postponed Yet Again

Oct 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 27

Oct 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 26

Oct 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 25

Oct 24, Najib Asks Prosecution to Hand Over Justo’s Information Given to MACC

Oct 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 24

Oct 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 23

Oct 17, Jho Low Changed 1MDB Constitution to Give Najib Absolute Power

Oct 16, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 22

Oct 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 21

Oct 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 20

Oct 9, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 19

Oct 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 18

Oct 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 17

Oct 7, Some Umno People Envious of Jho Low-Najib Ties, Court Told

Oct 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 16

Oct 1, Arul Kanda Told Ex-1MDB CEO to Leave Country to Avoid PAC Meeting

Oct 1, Ex-1MDB CEO Paid RM99K Monthly, RM1.5M Bonus

Oct 1, Jho Low Helped Plan Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Trip to Sway Voters for GE13

Sept 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 15

Sept 30, Witness: Najib Used 1MDB to Raise Funds for GE13

Sept 26, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 14

Sept 26, Jho Low, Tim Leissner Played “Matchmaker” for Najib to Meet Goldman Sachs

Sept 26, US$9M Transferred from Jho Low’s Good Star to Riza Aziz’s Red Granite Pictures

Sept 26, Jho Low, Najib Faked Meeting Minutes to Move US$750M from 1MDB to PSI

Sept 26, Najib Agreed to 1MDB Borrowing RM3B from SOCSO to Lend to PetroSaudi

Sept 25, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 13

Sept 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 12

Sept 23, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 11

Sept 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 10

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Nine

Sept 18, Najib’s Ex-Aide Led MACC to Raid on Jho Low’s Apartment

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Halted Briefly for Najib to See Eye Specialist

Sept 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Eight

Sept 17, Witness Identifies Riza Aziz, Arul Kanda and Five Others as Key Players in 1MDB Saga

Sept 17, Bono, Queen of Jordan, Rosmah Floated as Trustees for TIA

Sept 17, Witness Says 1MDB Najib’s Baby, Defence Claims It Was Terengganu Sultan’s Idea

Sept 11, Najib’s Eye Infection Halts 1MDB Trial

Sept 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Six

Sept 10, Rosmah Fond of Jho Low

Sept 10, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Provided Scripted Responses to Deny His Involvement in 1MDB

Sept 10, Istana Negara Questioned Jho Low’s Role in 1MDB Predecessor TIA

Sept 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Five

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Judge Raps Shafee over Najib’s Tardiness

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Took US$200K Loan from Jho Low to Buy Property

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Accused of Lying

Sept 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Four

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Mudabala CEO Was Promised All Sorts of Things

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide, Jho Low on “Secret China Mission” to Bail Out 1MDB

Sept 4, Jho Low Ordered Najib’s Ex-Aides to Open Overseas Bank Accounts

Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Three

Sept 3, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Drew Out Wealth Fund Concept on Kitchen Whiteboard

Sept 3, Jho Low Gave Possibly Forged Letters from Saudi Arabia to Stop 1MDB Probe

Sept 3, Only Najib and Jho Low Knew “Full Picture” of 1MDB Plan

Sept 3, Jho Low in Najib’s Inner Circle

Aug 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Two

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day One

Aug 28, Shafee: Prove Najib Knew Arab Donation Letter Faked, Jho Low Is Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Shafee Again Questions Sri Ram’s Appointment

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Gopal Sri Ram’s Full Opening Statement

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Prosecution to Show Saudi Donations a Sham

Aug 28, Najib’s 1 MDB Trial: Prosecution to Prove Jho Low Was Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Begins