KUALA LUMPUR: "Boss will take care" – these were the exact words used by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho to convince two of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak's aides to open bank accounts in foreign countries.
The accounts with BSI Bank in Singapore that he asked them to open were meant to be "standby accounts" for Najib's political funds for the 13th General Election, the High Court here heard on Wednesday (Sept 4).
In 2012, Low sent Najib's former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin and the late Datuk Seri Azlin Alias, who was Najib's principal private secretary, to Singapore where he had arranged for the setting up of the accounts to be held in a hotel room.
This was handled by one Yvonne from BSI Bank and another unknown officer.
It took Low several meetings to convince Azlin to proceed with it, as the latter was uncomfortable with the arrangement.
Both Azlin and Amhari were afraid that the accounts under their names would be used for money laundering.
"Jho said that if there are to be any queries about the account, Najib will protect us.
"Azlin became uncomfortable when Jho said everything will be done 'above board' with the right process and documentations and with a reputable bank," Amhari told the High Court here on the fourth day of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
"Azlin told me that we have to follow his instructions or we might lose our jobs or our family might be harmed now that we know about the plan," Amhari said.
While Azlin's application was approved, Amhari's application was rejected.
In a subsequent meeting with Low, Amhari said he found it strange that his account was suddenly approved even without any follow-up action.
Both Amhari and Azlin were not allowed to use the accounts as the accounts were controlled and handled by Low.
Najib, 66, is facing four charges of having used his position to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.
He faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.