Jho Low arranged Najib’s family’s yacht holidays

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Low also participated in several holidays with Najib’s family.

Low Taek Jho — the now fugitive Malaysian businessman — planned yacht holidays abroad for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s family in Europe as far back as the late 2000s, an investigating officer from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said in the former prime minister’s 1MDB trial today.

Senior Superintendent Nur Aida Arifin was listing the outcome of her investigations in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Among other things, the 49th prosecution witness said Najib had not taken action to lodge reports to seek investigation by Malaysian authorities after 1MDB’s funds were funnelled out, and that no action had been taken on individuals such as Low despite the money being diverted out of the company.

1MDB is owned by the Finance Ministry via the Minister of Finance (Incorporated).

In her testimony today, Nur Aida said she found out during investigations that “Jho Low also participated in several holidays with Datuk Seri Najib’s family”.

She said this included a holiday on the RM Elegance yacht in the southern France waters in 2009, where Low also arranged a meeting with two individuals named “Prince Turki” and Tarek Obaid during this vacation.

Nur Aida said Low also handled Najib’s family’s vacation on the Golden Odyssey yacht in the waters of Greece and Italy in 2010, and that Low and Eric Tan Kim Loong (now known to be Low’s associate) handled another vacation on the Topaz yacht in the southern France waters in 2013 which was also attended by United Arab Emirates’ crown prince Sheikh Mansour and Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny.

Based on her investigations, Nur Aida said Najib in his three roles then as prime minister, finance minister and 1MDB’s board of advisers’ chairman has “accountability” among all his actions and noted that Low was not appointed to any positions in both the Malaysian government and 1MDB but had planned an active role in arranging 1MDB’s operations.

According to Nur Aida, former finance minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah — who was also responsible for MOF Inc-owned companies — said Najib had ordered him to “not be involved and interfere in any of 1MDB’s dealings and investment decisions”.

Nur Aida said her investigations showed that no immediate action was taken to rectify the situation despite no profits being obtained by both 1MDB and Malaysia.

“1MDB funds have been diverted since 2009, but no legal action was taken on Jho Low or any parties. No complaints at all were made by Datuk Seri Najib or 1MDB management to any authorities namely MACC and the police to investigate this abuse,” she said during the 1MDB trial.

“Datuk Seri Najib never ordered any member of 1MDB’s management to distance themselves from Jho Low,” she said.

Firdaus Latif

“Datuk Seri Najib’s and Jho Low’s relationship was not just on official matters regarding 1MDB only,” she said, before stating her investigation findings of Low’s involvement in arranging for Najib’s family’s vacations on the yachts.

Regarding the two versions of the 1MDB board meeting minutes dated September 26, 2009 — including one version which removed Low’s name — Nur Aida testified that mention of this was in 2016 removed from the 2014 1MDB audit report.

She had earlier also said that no other companies under MOF Inc had the same clauses like 1MDB’s memorandum and articles of association (otherwise known as 1MDB’s company constitution).

Among other things, Nur Aida also testified based on her investigations that Najib did not tell his Cabinet about the RM3.6 billion which entered his two personal AmBank accounts, and that he had never queried to AmBank about the funds’ sources or complained to AmBank.

Nur Aida also said today that 1MDB investment funds were the source of money which had entered Najib’s AmBank accounts.

Before Nur Aida started reading the outcome of her investigations in court today, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib told the court that the prosecution team and Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had sat together this morning to make further amendments — including deleting and adding of some words — to this portion of her witness statement.

Previously on Wednesday, 1MDB trial judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah had suggested that both the prosecution and Najib’s lawyers could go through and rework this portion of Nur Aida’s written statement before she reads it out to limit it to factual points, in order to have smooth trial proceedings and in anticipation of Shafee’s objections to some of the contents.

At that time, Ahmad Akram said he was agreeable to doing so with Najib’s legal team.

Nur Aida’s testimony today of the outcome of her investigations — which is the version which the prosecution and defence had gone through in advance before trial this morning — was not objected to by Najib’s lawyers.

Najib’s 1MDB trial is scheduled to resume on Monday afternoon, with Nur Aida expected to further testify on a list — numbering more than 200 pages — of documentary evidence by saying where and when she obtained those documents during her investigation. – MMO