The former prime minister insists he had only ‘professional’ ties to Jho Low, blames Goldman Sachs for 1MDB fiasco.
Najib denies knowing:
- Jho Low personally
- about Low’s private lifestyle
- that Malaysia’s interests in 1MDB’s investments were not safeguarded
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says action must be taken against Jho Low, if he is found to have committed wrongdoings in relation to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
“If he had committed wrongdoings, or breach of trust, that are against the law, then action must be taken against him,” Najib said in a live interview with Sinar Harian today.
He claimed his relationship with Low was on a professional basis and that he did not know the Penang-born financier personally.
“What I know about Jho Low is that he started with the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) as a special adviser upon being invited to serve them.
“Prior to 1MDB, he had a close relationship with Middle-Eastern countries, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia. He managed to bring in investments with the cooperation of related parties. For instance the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank investment in RHB Bank,” he said.
Najib said he felt that Malaysia could make use of Jho Low’s connections with these countries to boost its economic and diplomatic ties with them.
He also claimed that he had no knowledge of Jho Low’s private lifestyle.
“I didn’t know what he did privately; I only came to know about it later. As for the superyacht, private jet, and the parties, I was not involved. I absolutely did not know what we all know now,” he said.
Najib claimed that Goldman Sachs had failed to discharge its responsibility in safeguarding Malaysia’s interests with regards to 1MDB’s investments.
“We had appointed lawyers, auditors and Goldman Sachs, which is a leading global investment bank. The bank’s responsibility is to safeguard Malaysia’s interests. If they failed to safeguard Malaysia’s interests, how should I know?
“They should have informed me if something is not right,” he said, adding that the bank, auditors and lawyers had all failed to play their role.
Asked whether this meant that he now admits that Malaysia had been cheated by Low, Najib replied: “Yes, that is the conclusion if we take into account what we know today.”
In March 2015, however, Najib said that Low had no involvement with 1MDB and that all decisions and transactions were made by the company’s management and board of directors, which he chaired.