It's a 'sham': Ex-1MDB CEO tells court of a deal to deceive board of directors

  • Nation
  • Monday, 03 Aug 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak returned to the courtroom on Monday (Aug 3) for his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MBD) trial involving RM2.28bil, just after his conviction over corruption charges in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case last week.

The Pekan MP, who was sentenced to 12 years in jail and a RM210mil fine, is currently out on a RM2mil bail after being granted a stay of execution pending an appeal in the case.

The proceedings at the High Court continued with the cross-examination of former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi by Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed on 1MDB’s acquisition of Mastika Lagenda Sdn Bhd.

Mastika Lagenda was an investment holding company for Genting Sanyen Power Sdn Bhd, which was previously acquired by 1MDB after getting a blanket approval from Najib who was the finance minister in 2012.

Shahrol, who is the ninth prosecution witness, said he had obtained a blanket approval to proceed with the acquisition of Mastika Lagenda, despite no written approval.

“There was no specific approval, but the board of directors (BOD) was aware of Mastika Lagenda.

“The board moved quickly because we didn’t specifically brief the board, ” he added.

The witness also agreed to a suggestion by Wan Aizuddin that the deal was “a sham” to deceive the BOD.

"At the material time, I didn't know. But now, in hindsight, yes (I agree)," Shahrol said.

The witness was also grilled repeatedly by the defence for his alleged involvement with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, and other individuals in 1MDB.

Shahrol denied that he omitted International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC)’s name as the guarantor for a US$1.75bil bond or borrowing by 1MDB as a means to mislead the BOD.

Wan Aizuddin suggested that some “US$790-odd million” was transferred to Aabar Investment PJS Limited, and Shahrol did not object to this transaction as he was part of a criminal scheme together with Low, 1MDB general counsel Jasmine Loo, 1MDB deputy chief financial officer Terrence Geh, 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir and officers from Goldman Sachs to embezzle millions of dollars from 1MDB.

“I disagree, ” Shahrol replied.

Wan Aizuddin: I put it to you, that you, Jho Low, Loo and Geh have personally benefited from the transactions?

Shahrol: Disagree.

The court had previously heard that the US$790mil transaction was linked to 1MDB’s RM2.75bil purchase in 2012 for a 100% stake in Mastika Lagenda.

Najib, 67, is facing four charges of abusing his position to obtain gratification totalling RM2.28bil in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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