In March 2011, Datuk Seri Najib Razak signed fabricated minutes of a meeting with 1DMB chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi that was drafted by Low Taek Jho, the High Court was told today.
At the 1MDB-Tanore trial, Shahrol said the implication of the fabricated minutes is it contained Najib’s go-ahead for 1MDB to lend another US$750 million to PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) as part of a Murabaha Financing Agreement signed by 1MDB in 2010.
The minutes was for a purported meeting between Shahrol and Najib in his capacity as chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisers (BoA). However, Shahrol told the High Court that he never attended the meeting.
Shahrol, who is testifying as the ninth prosecution witness against Najib, told High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah that it was Low — better known as Jho Low — who presented him with the minutes, which already carried Najib’s signature.
“I signed the minutes as [company] secretary after seeing Najib’s signature,” Shahrol said.
The minutes, Shahrol said, also included Najib’s instruction to focus the investment on the proposed takeover of UK-based Maybourne Hotel Group, which was suggested by Jho Low, to be done jointly with Aabar.
“I kept the minutes and informed 1MDB’s board of directors in a board meeting dated April 4, 2011, that Najib agreed for 1MDB to increase its investment with PSI.
“I would like to state that the suggestion on Maybourne was not planned or discussed at the 1MDB board, and I believe that Jho Low only wanted to use 1MDB’s name to bid for the hotel,” Shahrol said.
At the time, 1MDB had put in too much for overseas investments and too little for its local projects — Bandar Malaysia and KL International Financial District (now Tun Razak Exchange), to name a few, Shahrol said.
He testified that PSI eventually agreed for the amount to be reduced to US$330 million. With that included, by end-2010, 1MDB had forked out US$1.83 billion to fund its business dealings with PSI.
The prosecution in the 1MDB-Tanore trial wants to prove that from this amount, US$1.03 billion went to Jho Low-owned Good Star Ltd, while another US$500 million is still missing.
Najib, who was ousted as prime minister last year, is currently facing 25 criminal charges in relation to the alleged embezzlement of billions of ringgit belonging to 1MDB.
As the trial continues, Shahrol is expected to reveal more on how 1MDB was further conned in its pursuit to bring the US$1.83 billion home. – The Edge Markets