Najib may remove judge from his 1MDB trial

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Datuk Seri Najib Razak is considering disqualifying the presiding judge from hearing his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) corruption trial.

Firdaus Latif

Lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah raised this issue today after trial Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah’s disclosure about his connection with recently-arrested 1MDB former general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan.

The Court of Appeal judge who presided as High Court judge, yesterday, said Loo was his partner in a law firm more than a decade ago.

Shafee, at the outset of today’s proceeding, said they (defence) were surprised by the recent development.

“This issue is complex, and we will raise this at the next hearing on Aug 14,” he said.

Sequerah said he would deal with this when the time comes.

Sequerah made the disclosure yesterday following Shafee’s inquiry about whether Loo would be called as a witness in the trial.

Shafee said Loo would be a highly relevant witness in Najib’s trial who allegedly misappropriated billions of the sovereign wealth funds.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said they (the prosecution) did not receive any further instruction from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Loo’s name was heavily mentioned during Najib’s ongoing corruption trial for allegedly misappropriating RM2.3 billion from 1MDB.

It was reported that Loo was among the proxies working with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, to misappropriate millions of ringgit from the sovereign state fund.

Loo, who also became a fugitive after the fall of the Barisan Nasional-led government during the 14th General Election in 2018, was listed as a wanted person.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, at a press conference on July 12, said police were holding Loo at the Dang Wangi police headquarters.

Najib, 70, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount. – NST

Earlier report:

Jul 26, 1MDB judge discloses he and Jasmine Loo were law firm partners over a decade ago