Witness: Najib Used 1MDB to Raise Funds for GE13

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Former prime minister Najib Razak raised money through 1MDB to fund the 2013 election campaign, the High Court heard today.

Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halim said fugitive financier Low Taek Jho told him that a proposed joint venture between the state investor and Aabar BVI, a subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), would “bring a big impact” in that election.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

“I did not ask him further about the matter. However, I concluded that the fundraising was related to GE13,” he said when examined by ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram.

(Najib, who succeeded Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, fared badly in the 2013 polls as Barisan Nasional won only 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats. BN had lost its two-thirds majority in 2008 under Abdullah, when it won 140 of the 222 seats.)

(Under Najib, the BN also lost the popular votes, with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat securing 50.1% of the ballots cast.)

(In the 14th general election last year, BN lost power to the four-party opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan. One of the campaign issues was the 1MDB financial fiasco.)

Shahrol said 1MDB and Aabar were supposed to enter into a joint venture, with each party investing US$3 billion, just before GE13.

He said 1MBD, through 1MDB Global Investment Limited (1MDB GIL), was supposed to raise its share for investing in the Tun Razak Exchange project.

He said Najib, in his capacity as finance minister, gave a letter of support in January 2013 to allow 1MDB to raise the U$3 billion.

Shahrol said, however, that Aabar did not inject its share as agreed in the joint venture agreement.

“So, the joint venture – Abu Dhabi Malaysia Incorporation – existed only in name,” he said.

In the opening statement on Aug 28, Sri Ram said 1MDB’s US$3 billion came from the Bank of New York Mellon Group.

He said only US$2.721 billion was disbursed into the account of 1MDB GIL with BSI Bank at Lugano, Switzerland. The balance went to Goldman Sachs as arranger fee.

The prosecution said that between March 21 and April 10, 2013, RM2.08 billion (US$681 million) was transferred into Najib’s Ambank accounts, which is the subject matter of the Najib’s third corruption charge.

Kamarul Ariffin

The former prime minister is facing 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds.

He is accused of abusing his position to obtain RM2.28 billion in bribes in February 2011 and December 2014.

He is also said to have transferred RM2.28 billion in illegal funds to his bank accounts and to have subsequently used the money.

The hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues. – FMT