Ex-1MDB CEO Hazem paid RM97k monthly salary, court told (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman told the High Court that he received a RM93,000 salary when he started the position in 2013.

The 10th prosecution witness was under examination-in-chief conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P. Kunyalam in the 1MDB trial involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak here on Thursday (Sept 17).

Hazem, who first joined 1MDB as a COO in 2012, replaced his predecessor Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi the following year.

As the COO, he received a RM65,000 monthly salary.

His last drawn salary as a CEO was RM97,000.

"I received a five months bonus in 2013 and 10 months in 2014," he said.

To another question, the witness said he did not receive a sen from the funds raised through loans or bonds from 1MDB.

He also denied conspiring with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, to swindle money from 1MDB.

During cross-examination, Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah went through Hazem's work experience where the witness said his first drawn salary was a meagre RM1,800.

This was when he started work at Arab Malaysian Merchant Bank (AMMB) Bhd as a senior executive in 1996 after graduating from Case Western Reserve University in the United States.

Shafee then quipped that nobody would forget one's first salary.

"I earned RM670 as a Deputy Public Prosecutor," he added.

Hazem then moved to Dana Modal Nasional Bhd as a senior executive between 1998 and 1999 with a monthly salary of RM2,500.

In 2000, he became an investment analyst with Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia Kuala Lumpur with a starting pay of RM7,500 and his last drawn salary was about RM12,000.

Between 2002 and 2006, he moved to Deutsche Bank Kuala Lumpur with the same job title and a pay of RM15,000 monthly.

In 2008, he joined Sime Darby Bhd as group head of value management with an entry salary of RM15,000 and moved to Sime Darby's motor division as head of strategic initiative with a RM20,000-odd pay.

In the same year, Hazem became the managing director of Sime Darby Auto Conexxion with his last drawn salary being RM38,000. This was his last position before joining 1MDB.

Prior to joining 1MDB, the witness said he was interviewed by Shahrol over lunch at Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya in 2012.

Shafee: Were you headhunted by Shahrol?

Hazem: He did not headhunt me. It was my former boss Datuk Nor Badli Mohd Alias in AMMB and he was a friend of Tan Sri Ismee Ismail who was a board member in 1MDB.

Hazem said Nor Badli told him that 1MDB was looking for a COO and he (Hazem) could send in his resume if he was interested.

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 before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Oct 5.

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