M’sians were the losers, court heard

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Oct 2019

In the dock: Najib leaving the courthouse after the end of the 19th day of the 1MDB trial. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians were the losers when the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) issued Islamic Medium Term Notes (IMTN) worth RM5bil, the High Court heard.

TIA, which was later renamed 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), along with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Social Security Organisation (Socso), all suffered losses from the issuance of the said bonds.

Former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said the issuance of bonds however benefited Aktis Capital Singapore Pte Ltd (Aktis), which was said to be linked to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.

Shahrol admitted this during a cross-examination by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah here yesterday.

The witness said he did not know that there were two companies linked to Low – better known as Jho Low – that became secondary subscribers of 1MDB bonds in 2009.

The two companies were Aktis, whereby Low was the beneficial owner, and Country Group, said to be owned by Low’s father, Larry.

Shafee had suggested that TIA issued bonds worth RM5bil should have gotten a return of RM5bil but AmBank, as the agent, said the bonds could not be sold at face value.

The bonds were then sold to Aktis for RM617mil, who asked AmBank to become placement agent and offer the bonds on the market.

AmBank then offered the bonds at face value of RM700mil, subsequently profiting Aktis.

When Shafee suggested this gave Aktis an RM83mil profit, the witness agreed.

Shafee also referred the witness to a letter between AmBank and Aktis pertaining to a net amount of RM74.62mil payable to the latter.

Shafee: Miraculously, AmBank was able to sell it at face value, and this process only benefited Aktis. Who were the losers of this deal?

Shahrol: 1MDB.

Shafee: Some people arranged in Aktis for the discounted sale, for Jho Low’s outfit to make money. Now, who else lost? Malaysians? Malaysians got screwed twice as the bonds were sold at a discount and then sold at a higher value to Malaysian institutions such as EPF, Socso, insurance companies including AmBank?

Shahrol: Yes.

The cross-examination continues today before Justice Collin Lawreance Sequerah.

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.

The former prime minister 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.

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