1MDB trial: Jho Low dropped big names in TIA board proposal, High Court told

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 17 Sep 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho (pic) had dropped several big names of those he purportedly planned to bring in to sit on the board of advisors of the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) and also on the board of trustees of the TIA foundation, the High Court here heard.

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is representing Datuk Seri Najib Razak, revealed the high profile names during cross examination of a key witness on the eighth day of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial on Tuesday (Sept 17).

He said among those "suggested" for TIA's board of advisors were Kuwait's former deputy prime minister Sheikh Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem, LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton SE chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, former ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Lee Raymond, former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

As for the TIA foundation, Low proposed Jordan's Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, U2 lead vocalist Bono and Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

They were said to be among those that Low planned to bring in to sit on both boards that would be chaired by then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Muhammad Shafee, was referring to an appendix in a letter dated May 4,2009, by former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, while questioning Najib's former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

Amhari told the High Court the high profile individuals were suggested by Low in one of the their meetings.

He added the meeting was also attended by Najib's former principal private secretary, the late Datuk Seri Azlin Alias at Prince Hotel.

Shafee suggested that the names were given to impress the Terengganu authorities to which Amhari said he did not know.

Shafee: Do you know whether these came to be true or not, whether they became members of the board?

Amhari: I don't know

Shafee: I put it to you that in reality, most of these personalities do not even know their names were being used.

Amhari: I don't know

Shafee: It didn't cross your mind at all that this was a set up for another con job?

Amhari: No

During the proceedings earlier, Amhari had initially disagreed with Shafee's suggestion that 1MDB was never Najb's "baby" but that of Sultan Mizan's but he then agreed with Shafee after being shown a series of documents, including the declassified Cabinet meeting minutes.

He also agreed to Shafee's suggestion that Low had shown interest in TIA, which eventually became 1MDB, from the very beginning.

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 was charged with the four abuse of power charges under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law.

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.

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