Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 43

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State investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd was already severely in debt in March 2013 when it decided to raise US$3 billion to finance the Tun Razak Exchange project, the high court heard today.

This was revealed by former 1MDB chief executive Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi during cross-examination by Najib Razak’s lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohamad, in the former prime minister’s graft trial.

Shahrol said 1MDB was RM10 billion in debt at the time and its board did not agree to another loan but went ahead with it after it was pushed through by financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.

Wan Aizuddin: How much debt was 1MDB carrying at that time?

Shahrol: I am not sure. I can say with certainty, (1MDB) was already heavily indebted.

Wan Aizuddin: Would you agree 1MDB realised that to get another loan or to issue another note would be difficult?

Shahrol: I agree.

Wan Aizuddin: Wasn’t the board of directors concerned? Despite being so heavily indebted, they still wanted to borrow US$3 billion?

The witness said the deal with Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar BVI) was pushed through despite the debt because of Low’s involvement.

It later emerged that Aabar BVI was a shell company registered in the British Virgin Islands and controlled by the fugitive businessman, and not an actual subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), which should have received the funds.

The joint venture between Aabar BVI and 1MDB ended up not materialising but was used by the sovereign wealth fund to raise its third bond, arranged by Goldman Sachs, totalling US$3 billion.

Sharol said Low had a habit of forming shell companies with similar-sounding names as established firms to deceive investors.

He said Low insisted that the Malaysian Abu Dhabi Investment Company (Madic) name be changed to Abu Dhabi Malaysian Investment Company Ltd (Admic).

“I can tell you what was represented to me by Jho Low. He came to me and said the Abu Dhabi guys were sensitive as Malaysia came first in the name (Madic). So, I agreed to change it.”

The company later came to be known as Admic, a famous collaboration between UK’s Sky Broadcasting and Emirati politician Sheikh Mansour Zayed Al Nahyan.

Wan Aizuddin: I am suggesting that the change of name to Admic was for the purpose of confusing people, to show that the joint venture for Admic could be Admic Inc in Abu Dhabi?

Shahrol: No comment on that.

Wan Aizuddin: Would you also agree that Jho Low was always in the habit of incorporating offshore companies that have similar names as well-established companies?

Shahrol: Agree.

Low had set up Aabar BVI, mirroring an actual subsidiary of IPIC, as well as Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, a shell company seemingly linked to major real estate private equity firm Blackstone Real Estate.

Shahrol said Low got his way with the companies as he was Najib’s confidant.

The former prime minister is being tried on four counts of power abuse to enrich himself and 21 counts of money-laundering involving RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. – TMI


Earlier reports:

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, 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