KUALA LUMPUR: French business magnate Bernard Arnault was appointed a member of the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) Bhd board of advisors upon the approval of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the High Court heard.
Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said Arnault’s name was suggested by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low.
The Frenchman is the chairman and chief executive of luxury goods company LVMH Moet Hennessy and was recently named Europe’s richest man by Forbes.
“The name (Arnault) came from Jho. He told me Najib had agreed to it when we went through the appointment letters and confirmations during a board of directors meeting, ” Shahrol said.
Shahrol, who was under a cross-examination by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however said he did not confirm the matter with Najib.
Shafee earlier referred the witness to a document with a list of individuals who should sit on TIA’s international board of advisors.
They were Mubadala Development CEO Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak, former ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Lee Raymond, former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and Arnault.
However, Shahrol said only Khaldoon, Arnault, CITIC Group chairman Chang Zhenming and Qatari minister Sheik Hamad Jassim Jabar Al-Thani were appointed to the international board of directors.
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 if found guilty.
The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Monday (Oct 14).