Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 45

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PMO told 1MDB to take more debt despite already RM32 billion in the red.

The Prime Minister’s office told 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to take on more debt, despite the company’s balance sheet showing it was already RM32 billion in the red, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur heard today.

The orders were given by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and an aide of Najib Razak, former chief executive officer Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the court during the trial of Najib, the former prime minister accused of multiple counts of abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.

During cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohamad, Shahrol said he was acting on instructions to go ahead with raising US$3 billion (RM12.6 billion) in bonds for the joint venture deal between Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) and 1MDB.

Shahrol said the instructions came from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) via Low – also known as Jho Low – and Azlin Alias, Najib’s former principal private secretary and the director of economics in the PMO, which oversaw 1MDB matters.

Wan Aizuddin: At the time, 1MDB had amassed a debt of RM32 billion, would it be prudent to take on another loan to eliminate the buyback action?

Shahrol: We were under instructions from the PMO and the shareholders to get it done.

Wan Aizuddin: How was this instruction given to you?

Shahrol: They were talking points passed to me by Low…there was also an email from Azlin detailing the final form of the joint venture and the initial public offering (IPO).

Shahrol also said he received instructions from Jho Low via talking points when he was no longer in 1MBD and was working for Pemandu on the sovereign wealth fund’s IPO.

He added there was also no go-ahead from the 1MDB board on the utilisation of the US$3 billion to finance the Tun Razak Exchange project.

Wan Aizuddin: You can also confirm that is no approval by 1MBD board of directors in relation to utilisation of US$3 billion bond?

Shahrol: There was no specific approval. However, there one time that [former 1MDB chief financial officer] Azmi [Tahir] updated the board, he said the funds will be placed with fund manager.

Wan Aizuddin: No general meeting about the utilisation?

Shahrol: Correct

Wan Aizuddin: There was no resolution for utilisation of the US$3 billion?

Shahrol: Correct.

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

Shahrol also denied pushing through the JV for his personal gain and denied having misled Najib.

Wan Aizuddin: You knowingly and actively participated in defrauding 1MDB by misleading the board, the [then] PM and the government of Malaysia.

Shahrol: I disagree.

Wan Aizuddin: You knowingly participated in concealing facts from the board of directors of 1MDB, the government and the [then] prime minister.

Shahrol: I disagree.

Wan Aizuddin: The embezzlement of funds out of the US$3 billion bonds was done with your full knowledge in cahoots with Jho Low and company, as well as Goldman Sachs.

Shahrol: I disagree.

It later emerged that Aabar BVI was a shell company registered in the British Virgin Islands and controlled by Low, 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.

Shahrol said Low got his way with the companies because he was Najib’s confidante.

The former prime minister is on trial for four counts of power abuse to enrich himself and 21 counts of laundering RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds.

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


Earlier reports:

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, 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