KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court heard that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak truly believed that the money he received in his accounts were donations from Saudi royals.
His lawyer, Harvinderjit Singh, who was making his submission in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial where Najib is accused of misappropriating RM42mil from the company’s funds, said Najib had genuine belief that the money was a continuation of donations from the Saudi royal family to him.
This belief, Harvinderjit said, was from letters purportedly from the Saudi royal family that confirmed the authenticity of the donations.
The letters, which were produced in court, were shown to the authorities, including then-Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
During the defence trial, Najib testified that the late Saudi Arabia ruler, King Abdullah Al Saud, made donations to him through several transactions between 2011 and 2013.
Najib said that the funds were given by King Abdullah to be used at his own discretion, and he had used it for corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives while some were used to fund the Barisan Nasional election machinery.
The prosecution, however, had challenged the authenticity of the letters.
Harvinderjit submitted that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) itself had investigated the authenticity of the letters.
MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki (then the deputy of operations) was part of the trip to Riyadh in the investigation which saw a meeting between the MACC and three Arab princes.
"If the letters were not genuine, there would have been denial on the spot," Harvinderjit said.
Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram, in his reply, said the prosecution was challenging the existence of the letters to show that Najib’s defence was not credible.
Najib is facing seven charges – three for criminal breach of trust, one for abuse of power and three for money laundering involving SRC International funds totalling RM42mil.
The hearing of submission continues before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali today (June 4).
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