Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 47

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Najib was “ultimate” authority on 1MDB, and Jho Low, PMO and BN PAC members asked ex-CEO to “protect” Najib in 1MDB case.

Based on the documents produced both in court and during the investigations, IMDB beneficiaries included at least Jho Low, Casey Tang, Jasmine Loo, Tarek Obaid, Patrick Mahony, Khadem Al-Qubaisi, Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, as well as Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

Najib was the “ultimate” authority on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) affairs by virtue of being the prime minister and finance minister then, former chief executive Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the court today.

Shahrol said this when denying that Najib’s alleged former adviser and now-fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was a “shadow director” of 1MDB, insisting instead that his experience showed Low was relaying Najib’s instructions on how to conduct 1MDB matters.


Shahrol was testifying as the ninth prosecution witness in Najib’s power abuse and money-laundering trial over more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds.

Today, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram asked Shahrol to explain why he disagreed that Low was a “shadow director” of 1MDB acting through him in relation to 1MDB deals and transactions.

Sri Ram also asked Shahrol if he was ordered to destroy notes in order to protect Najib.

Sri Ram: You were asked (by the defence) about your evidence before the PAC. You said you destroyed the speaking notes because it was your job to protect the accused?

Shahrol: Correct

Sri Ram: May I ask, this idea of protecting the accused, where did it come from?

Shahrol: It came from everybody, not only Jho Low…officers in the Prime Minister’s Department, Barisan Nasional politicians who were members of the Public Accounts Committee in parliament whom I interacted with.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

Even from the beginning, I remember the civil servants in MoF (Finance Ministry) used the phrase “must protect the PM”.

Shahrol said among those involved in the scheming were Najib’s then officer Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin and Media Prima Bhd television networks group CEO Ahmad Farid Ridzuan.

Shahrol was CEO of 1MDB from 2009 to 2013, and later was a member of 1MDB’s board of directors from 2013 to 2016.

Shahrol also listed Najib as one of the beneficiaries of 1MDB’s transactions where 1MDB’s funds were lost.

Sri Ram: In hindsight, do you know who benefited from these transactions?

Shahrol: In hindsight, based on the documents that were shown to me both in court and during the investigations, the beneficiaries are at least Jho Low, Casey Tang, Jasmine Loo, Tarek Obaid, Patrick Mahony, Khadem Al-Qubaisi, Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, as well as Datuk Seri Najib.

Shahrol also maintained his testimony that he himself had not benefited financially or received any money from transactions where 1MDB’s funds were lost.

Shahrol said Najib was well aware of 1MDB affairs: “It is a pattern of the actions and the decisions made throughout not only my tenure as CEO from 2009 to 2013, but also more so actually after that in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, that dovetails with the talking points as I stated earlier as well as the decisions that were made by the management and board.”

“As a matter of fact, there was one or two specific occasions that I had very brief chats with Datuk Seri Najib, where I saw that he had a firm grasp of what’s happening within the company,” said Shahrol.

Sri Ram: So, it was not as if he was in the dark?

Shahrol: No, not in any point of time did I see that. At least that’s my perception.

Shahrol said among those involved in the scheming were Najib’s then officer Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin and Media Prima Bhd television networks group CEO Ahmad Farid Ridzuan.

Shahrol testified these two men were in charge of Najib’s branding and image and were working to shield him from the probing attention of international daily Wall Street Journal.

He said he met PAC chairman Hasan at Farid’s house where the former told Shahrol to keep Najib’s name out of the investigations.

Sri Ram: What about the BN member in PAC?

Shahrol: I met the then chairman Hasan. I can’t remember all the names of the guys, but at least one or two other members were also present at Farid’s home and the objective of the discussion was again to protect the PM.

Sri Ram: Was your evidence to PAC in any way influenced by this?

Shahrol: Of course. The fact was all mention of Jho Low was removed and responsibility for all the decisions was put on my shoulders.

Sri Ram: So, you would take the blame?

Shahrol: Yes

Sri Ram: Americans call it the ‘fall guy’, you were the fall guy.

Shahrol: Yes, Americans call it the ‘fall guy’, Malays call it ‘kambing hitam’.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

Around the same time, Shahrol said he met Paul Stadlen in Putrajaya to discuss Najib’s image and his reputation.

“He was introduced to me by Jho Low. He was the boss’ (Najib) PR guy. He was managing PR and public perception. I met him at Marriott Putrajaya.”

During their brief discussion at the hotel, Shahrol said Stadlen was also inclined to guard Najib from any scandal.

Earlier, under cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah,  Shahrol said he had from 2009 to 2016 received an estimated number of more than 100 “talking points” or written instructions via email or Blackberry text messages from Low, with the belief that these instructions on 1MDB transactions and deals were given on behalf of Najib. 1MDB had carried out the instructions on deals and huge sums of money had been lost as a result.

Shahrol said that he had, however, in 2015 destroyed the emails after receiving instructions from Low to do so, while the Blackberry messages had self-destructed through a feature of Blackberry on messages kept after some time, and that he had also destroyed digital documents where he had copied and kept information from the Blackberry messages.

“The Blackberry ones, the Word documents, I copied and pasted some, but after receiving instructions, I was quite thorough in basically deleting the points, because the message is clear — ‘PM is under attack, you better protect him,” he said .

The 49-year-old Shahrol ended his testimony today. He had been on the witness stand since late last year.

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 of 1MDB funds.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Monday.

Earlier reports:

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, 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