High Court dismisses bid by Najib to get documents linked to Zeti’s family, Jho Low, others

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Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah dismissed the applications, saying the documents Najib sought were not relevant to the charges he was facing.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today dismissed Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bid to get hold of documents involving United States investment bank Goldman Sachs, former Bank Negara (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s family and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

The former prime minister had sought for the prosecution to supply the documents deemed relevant to his trial over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah in dismissing Najib’s applications, said the documents the latter had sought were not relevant to the charges he was facing.

On the application for certain bank documents relating to the funds received by Zeti’s family, Sequerah said this had amounted to a collateral attack on Zeti as a witness in the case.

Najib’s lawyers had argued that the documents were pertinent to establish her credibility as the then BNM governor.

Sequerah said the integrity and credibility of Zeti were not an issue in the case.

“The counsel for the accused submitted that Zeti’s credibility as BNM governor was compromised.

“However, the prosecution pointed out that Zeti was not the person on trial here and the application was premature because she has yet to be called as a witness.

“Therefore, I do not see how these bank documents mentioned in relation to the family members of Zeti are relevant to the defence’s advance,” the judge said.

He added that the documents sought for by the defence were not necessary and desirable for the purposes of the trial.

Zeti is on the list of witnesses that the prosecution intends to call to testify during the ongoing 1MDB trial.

In Najib’s first application filed on March 24, he asked for bank account statements from 2008 to 2020 for eight entities (companies linked to Zeti’s family — Iron Rhapsody Limited, Cutting Edge Industries Limited, companies linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho — Aktis Capital Singapore Private Limited, Country Group Securities Public Company Limited, ACME Time Ltd (BVI), as well as Butamba Investment Limited, Central Holding Limited and law firm Sherman and Sterling LLC).

The Pekan MP also asked for company information of the eight entities such as their directors, their members, their beneficiary owners and records of their communications with banks on transactions and their accounts and other related bank documents.

Muhammad Shahril Rosli/The Star

In his second application filed on April 5, he asked for former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner’s Hong Kong mobile phones and these mobile phones’ transcript and passwords, data on Goldman Sachs’ servers.

These included communications and data on Leissner’s work mobile phones, the 2020 settlement agreement between Goldman Sachs and the Malaysian government, all communications including correspondence between the Malaysian government and Attorney-General’s Chambers with Goldman Sachs.

On the documents related to Goldman Sachs, Sequerah said the application is a ‘fishing expedition’ as the prosecution had made it clear that they do not have possession of the documents.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam, who was present today when the decision was delivered in court, confirmed that the judge disallowed Najib’s bid for the settlement agreement between Goldman Sachs and the Malaysian government, claiming it amounted to a “fishing expedition”.

Among other things, he said the High Court view was that the public prosecutor cannot be directed on how to conduct the prosecution’s case and that the public prosecutor would determine the type of documents to be used by the prosecution during trial.

In the ongoing 1MDB trial before Sequerah, Najib faces four counts of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering involving RM2.28 billion from the sovereign wealth fund.

The accused was also previously a finance minister and chairperson of 1MDB’s board of advisers. 1MDB is fully owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc).

Previously during the 1MDB trial, Najib’s defence team contended that former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and several others may have been in cahoots with Low in the whole affair, of which the former premier claimed he had no knowledge about.

The 1MDB corruption trial is set to resume on Aug 17.