Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 20

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Jho Low described as Najib’s “consigliere”, which is an advisor to an Italian mob boss, while ex-1MDB CEO described as “table ornament”.

9.46am: Proceedings begin as accused Najib Razak steps into the dock.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

9.48am: Lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram informs the court that lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik is present and holding a watching brief on behalf of Goldman Sachs in the trial.

10.10am: The court hears from former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi that the company had once had four international figures on its international board of advisers.

They include fashion conglomerate Louis Vuitton’s chairperson and CEO Bernard Arnault, former Qatar prime minister Jaber al-Thani, CITIC Group chairperson Chang Zhenming, and Mubadala CEO Khaldoon al Mubarak.

Shahrol testifies that a letter of appointment to the board of advisers was sent to these individuals, including Arnault whom he personally met in Paris to deliver the letter.

He says Arnault had verbally accepted his appointment to the board while Zhenming had also replied with a letter of acceptance.

Under cross-examination by lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Shahrol says that all the personalities were suggested by Jho Low.

When asked on the logic behind the appointment of figures like Arnault, who is in the fashion business, Shahrol says that Arnault was among the top businesspersons in the world at that time.

“Bernard Arnault clearly one of the leading business people in the world. I think that’s enough justification. He was among top five richest, I think,” he says.

However, according to Shahrol, there was never an international board of advisers meeting called albeit efforts had been done to do so.

He says that this was due to failure to find an opportunity to get all of them together at one place.

10.20am: The court hears that Jho Low had said that Najib consented to Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) being taken over by the federal government.

Shahrol says Low had told him this during cross-examination from Shafee.

Shahrol is explaining about the letter issued by him to Najib on June 25, 2009, recommending for the federalisation of TIA.

“At that time, I was looking at a flurry of letters. That was very “kelam kabut” (confusing) time as I wanted Jho to clarify with me what is the wishes of the prime minister (Najib).

“Eventually when this letter was produced, he (Jho Low) came to me and said Najib had agreed to the federalisation transformation of TIA to 1MDB,” he says.

10.28am: Shahrol is speaking about the federalisation TIA would be under the federal government and not the Terengganu government.

He says he did not know about a written decision by the cabinet and Najib, and was only told by Low.

He says he was only given enough information to do his part.

10.30am: Shafee suggests given Shahrol’s background of “playing Mr Postman”, he now knows from the cabinet meeting minutes that Low was not telling the truth.

Shahrol agrees.

10.36am: Shahrol says he was instructed to write down the suggestion to federalise TIA.

He says it was to get the ball rolling on federalising.

10.42am: Shafee refers to a meeting on June 30, 2009 chaired by then-Treasury secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah. It was also attended by then Najib’s aide Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

During the meeting, there was a question from a Terengganu palace official who questioned Low’s role because he had been flaunting the royalty’s name.

10.45am: “He (Jho Low) was representing Najib at the time, the Italian word was ‘consigliere’.  He gets things done for the prime minister,” Shahrol says.

A consigliere is an advisor to an Italian mob boss.

10.48am: Shahrol disagrees to a suggestion by the defence that he was just a “decoration” in the company.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

He disagrees when Shafee puts it to him as being a mere “soprammobile” or table ornament for following Jho Low’s instructions in running the company.

Shafee’s question comes as Shahrol testifies that he had trusted Low’s words without making any checks or confirmations.

10.50am: Sri Ram says that Shahrol is not well.

Shahrol makes a request to judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah if he can be excused from the afternoon session to seek treatment.

Sequerah then tells the witness to update the court again on his condition when the court breaks for lunch.

The court then goes for a 15-minute break.

11.12am: Court is in session but Najib is not in the dock.

Shafee tells Sequerah that Najib will be up shortly.

Sequerah tells Shafee to impress upon Najib that it is not the custom of the court to wait for an accused.

Shafee tells Sequerah that he will do that.

Cross-examination continues.

11.21am: For the federalisation of TIA, Shahrol had suggested that it be run like Petronas.

Shafee: Do you know why you compared it to Petronas?

Shahrol: Low suggested it.

Shafee: Of course.

11.36am: Shahrol says the TIA federalisation was rushed through as per instructions by Low.

12.10am: Judge Sequerah allows a request by Shahrol for him to be excused early today due to health issues.

Shahrol tells the judge that he is feeling under the weather.

Shahrol: I’m feeling very down and under the weather.

Sequerah: You’re not in a position to continue?

Shahrol: Yes, I don’t think I should (continue).

The judge then adjourns the trial which will resume on Monday morning.

Earlier reports:

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