Duo ignored warnings, court told

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court heard that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho and former SRC International Sdn Bhd CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil ignored warnings about numerous cash deposits into AmBank accounts that belonged to Datuk Seri Najib Razak between 2014 and 2015.

Joanna Yu (pic), who was a former AmBank Bhd relationship manager, said she had cautioned Low, better known as Jho Low, and Nik Faisal, who was the mandate holder for Najib’s accounts, against receiving large cash deposits over the counter because it could raise money-laundering concerns.

The witness was under cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh here yesterday.

Harvinderjit: On numerous occasions, you told them no more cash over the counter, but that was all ignored?

Yu: Yes.

Yu said she did not know whether the two men heeded her warning when she told them about the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, and the problems they could face.

Harvinderjit: They did not comply?

Yu: They still kept sending cash.

The witness agreed to a suggestion that 19 transactions involving cash deposits, which amounted to more than RM12mil between 2014 and 2015, were done to avoid bounced cheques.

Yu said the deposits were to ensure Najib’s accounts remained active.

“The transactions were done by Jho Low and it was deposited into the ‘MNR’ account, ” she said.

Earlier, the court heard that Yu could have used RM55, 000 of her own money to cover an overdraft of the account ending with the number 906 to avoid a cheque from bouncing.

She said she could not get funds from Jho Low, who often told her to refer to his secretary Josie or his associate Kee Kok Thiam for funds when Najib’s accounts were overdrawn.

She said the account ending 906 was overdrawn by RM55, 000 due to a RM80, 000 cheque issued without sufficient balance.

Harvinderjit: This happened on Sept 29, 2014. You contacted Jho Low and told him the need for cash to be deposited in Najib’s AmBank account.

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Jho then instructed you to get Kee to provide the funds, but was told that he was unavailable. He was in Melaka.

Yu: Yes.

Harvinder suggested that as Kee was unavailable, Jho had ordered Yu to contact Josie but the secretary was also away, and could only deposit the funds the following day.

The witness agreed with Harvinderjit that she then told Josie that she “may need to help fund first” if she could not get the necessary funds before the 4.30pm cut-off time.

Harvinderjit: Again, I suggest the RM55, 000, it came from you. And Josie paid you back the next day?

Yu: It may have been (the case).

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering amounting to RM42mil of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues today.

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