KUALA LUMPUR: The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial took a light-hearted tone on Tuesday (Sept 10) when proceedings touched on the location chosen for "clandestine" meetings between three of Datuk Seri Najib Razak's close aides.
Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) was questioning the eighth witness, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, on secret night meetings between him, late principal private secretary Datuk Seri Azlin Alias and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho (or Jho Low), as mentioned in Amhari's 77-page statement.
The High Court earlier heard that Amhari lived in Kota Damansara while Azlin lived in Kajang – both in Selangor – but had chosen to meet at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Shafee: Out of curiosity, why Prince Hotel?
Amhari: It was suggested by Jho. I checked with Azlin and he agreed. So I arranged it.
Shafee: I want to know why ... a lot of bad things were done in Prince Hotel... drug dealing too.
Amhari: It was chosen by Jho.
Shafee: You did not check with Najib (on the meeting)?
The witness said he was only a special officer who followed instructions.
Shafee then said "tempat itu bukan elok sangat" (that place was not really that proper) and added that he, as a defence lawyer, knew a lot about hotels in Kuala Lumpur.
The prominent lawyer's off-the-cuff remark drew laughter from the crowd.
Najib, 66, faces 25 charges in total – four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.3bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of 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.
The trial continues before High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Wednesday (Sept 11).