Najib’s 1MDB trial: Any 1MDB director who said ‘no’ to Najib would likely have to quit

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Any directors of the government-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) would probably have to give up their positions if they had said “no” to what the prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wanted, the High Court heard today.

Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, a former director in 1MDB, today appeared to suggest that 1MDB board members would not be able to disagree with Najib’s request.

Ismee was testifying as the 13th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial involving money laundering and power abuse charges in relation to more than RM2 billion of funds misappropriated from 1MDB.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram today zoomed in on the 1MDB board’s September 26, 2009, meeting, where Low Taek Jho — popularly known as Jho Low and seen by Ismee as Najib’s adviser for 1MDB — was present and had handed over his handphone to 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.

Yesterday, Ismee said Bakke had then informed everyone at the meeting that “PM call” and left to take the call, and that Bakke had returned several minutes later and informed the board that he had just spoke to Najib who wanted the board to speed up its decision on a proposed joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI).

Despite having only been shown the proposal paper for the 1MDB-PSI joint venture idea just days earlier in a September 18, 2009, 1MDB board meeting, the 1MDB directors had at the September 26 meeting agreed to approve the joint venture despite reservations and despite having wanted more studies to be carried out first, Ismee had said yesterday.

Today, Sri Ram asked Ismee if the 1MDB board members could have said no.

Sri Ram: My question to you is, when Tan Sri Bakke told the meeting that the prime minister wants us to go ahead, were you in a position as a member of the board to say no?

Ismee: I guess at that time, I guess if the board members say no to the wishes of the prime minister, I guess we just have to leave as board members.


Ismee went on to explain how the proposed 1MDB-PetroSaudi deal was seen as a government-to-government deal then between the Malaysian government and the Saudi Arabian government.

“I think if I can recall correctly at the moment of time in 2009, when Datuk Seri Najib had just recently become prime minister, the perspective on my part, the excitement, the expectation was high, and I believed we wanted to do the deal to fulfil the prime minister’s wishes.

“So that’s why due to the urgency, we tried to put all the conditions to ensure the G2G is really airtight, so that is the position I believed the board took then.

“And personally in 2009, being CEO of Tabung Haji, I’m very sensitive about the relationship to the Saudi government. That time pun, I myself felt excited, we can enhance the relationship between Malaysia and Saudi,” he said.

Tabung Haji is a fund for Malaysia’s Muslim pilgrims, while holy sites for Muslim pilgrimages are located in Saudi Arabia.

Ismee agreed with Sri Ram, however, that the conditions that the 1MDB board had set for the joint venture had not been met and had been violated.

As for the funds that were taken out of 1MDB, Ismee confirmed that he did not receive any of these funds and further confirmed that he had not received any money from Low.

Yesterday, Ismee had also said the 1MDB directors might have asked the 1MDB management to postpone the joint venture to enable further studies to be carried out instead of approving it on September 26, 2009, if Najib had not intervened and given instructions to Bakke and the 1MDB board at that meeting.

Ismee had yesterday also said the 1MDB board of directors does have the powers to stop or reject the proposed joint venture with PSI but noted that the chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisers — who was Najib as the prime minister then — has the powers under the 1MDB company constitution’s Article 117 to override their decision and could also appoint new directors if dissatisfied with any of the directors. – MMO

Earlier reports:

Nov 17, Najib’s 1MDB trial: 1MDB BOD unaware of US$700m transferred to Jho Low’s company

Nov 15, Najib’s 1MDB trial: RM49m that 1MDB forrowed went into Najib’s account

Nov 11, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Najib had ultimate power in 1MDB

Nov 9, Najib’s 1MDB trial: 1MDB was run like a ‘Petaling Street coffee shop’

May 20, Najib’s 1MDB trial: US$2.7b became US$60,000 in just months but CEO kept mum

May 17, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Ex-1MDB CEO suspected illegal activities between Najib and Jho Low

Feb 15, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Ex-1MDB CEO believes UMNO benefited from 1MDB

Feb 15, Najib’s 1MDB trial: 1MDB’s senior executive meetings held in Jho Low’s apartment

Feb 10, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Najib claimed Saudi prince “donated” to 1MDB’s charity arm

Feb 9, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Najib received RM2.973b from 1MDB

Feb 9, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Jho Low known as “PMO” in 1MDB board meetings was “the man”

Feb 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Ex-CEO says in 1MDB, you either follow instructions or quit

Jan 6, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Day 52

Jan 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 51

Sept 17, 2020, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 50

Sept 15, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 49

Sept 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 48

Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 47

Sept 2, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 46

Sept 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 45

Aug 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 44

Aug 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 43

Aug 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 42

Aug 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 41

Jul 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Set to Last Until at Least June 2021

Jul 16, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 39

Jul 15, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 38

Jul 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 37

Jun 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 36

May 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 35

May 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 34

May 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 33

Nov 11, 2019, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 32

Nov 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 31

Nov 6, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 28

Nov 4, 1MDB Trial: Judge Reprimands Najib After Tg Piai Trip

Oct 31, Najib Calls in Sick with Swollen Eyes, 1MDB Trial Postponed Yet Again

Oct 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 27

Oct 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 26

Oct 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 25

Oct 24, Najib Asks Prosecution to Hand Over Justo’s Information Given to MACC

Oct 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 24

Oct 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 23

Oct 17, Jho Low Changed 1MDB Constitution to Give Najib Absolute Power

Oct 16, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 22

Oct 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 21

Oct 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 20

Oct 9, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 19

Oct 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 18

Oct 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 17

Oct 7, Some Umno People Envious of Jho Low-Najib Ties, Court Told

Oct 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 16

Oct 1, Arul Kanda Told Ex-1MDB CEO to Leave Country to Avoid PAC Meeting

Oct 1, Ex-1MDB CEO Paid RM99K Monthly, RM1.5M Bonus

Oct 1, Jho Low Helped Plan Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Trip to Sway Voters for GE13

Sept 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 15

Sept 30, Witness: Najib Used 1MDB to Raise Funds for GE13

Sept 26, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 14

Sept 26, Jho Low, Tim Leissner Played “Matchmaker” for Najib to Meet Goldman Sachs

Sept 26, US$9M Transferred from Jho Low’s Good Star to Riza Aziz’s Red Granite Pictures

Sept 26, Jho Low, Najib Faked Meeting Minutes to Move US$750M from 1MDB to PSI

Sept 26, Najib Agreed to 1MDB Borrowing RM3B from SOCSO to Lend to PetroSaudi

Sept 25, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 13

Sept 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 12

Sept 23, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 11

Sept 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 10

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Nine

Sept 18, Najib’s Ex-Aide Led MACC to Raid on Jho Low’s Apartment

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Halted Briefly for Najib to See Eye Specialist

Sept 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Eight

Sept 17, Witness Identifies Riza Aziz, Arul Kanda and Five Others as Key Players in 1MDB Saga

Sept 17, Bono, Queen of Jordan, Rosmah Floated as Trustees for TIA

Sept 17, Witness Says 1MDB Najib’s Baby, Defence Claims It Was Terengganu Sultan’s Idea

Sept 11, Najib’s Eye Infection Halts 1MDB Trial

Sept 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Six

Sept 10, Rosmah Fond of Jho Low

Sept 10, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Provided Scripted Responses to Deny His Involvement in 1MDB

Sept 10, Istana Negara Questioned Jho Low’s Role in 1MDB Predecessor TIA

Sept 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Five

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Judge Raps Shafee over Najib’s Tardiness

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Took US$200K Loan from Jho Low to Buy Property

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Accused of Lying

Sept 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Four

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Mudabala CEO Was Promised All Sorts of Things

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide, Jho Low on “Secret China Mission” to Bail Out 1MDB

Sept 4, Jho Low Ordered Najib’s Ex-Aides to Open Overseas Bank Accounts

Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Three

Sept 3, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Drew Out Wealth Fund Concept on Kitchen Whiteboard

Sept 3, Jho Low Gave Possibly Forged Letters from Saudi Arabia to Stop 1MDB Probe

Sept 3, Only Najib and Jho Low Knew “Full Picture” of 1MDB Plan

Sept 3, Jho Low in Najib’s Inner Circle

Aug 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Two

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day One

Aug 28, Shafee: Prove Najib Knew Arab Donation Letter Faked, Jho Low Is Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Shafee Again Questions Sri Ram’s Appointment

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Gopal Sri Ram’s Full Opening Statement

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Prosecution to Show Saudi Donations a Sham

Aug 28, Najib’s 1 MDB Trial: Prosecution to Prove Jho Low Was Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Begins