Ex-1MDB CFO says he believed the fugitive businessman represented Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief financial officer (CFO), Azmi Tahir says that he did not meet fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low “off the road” but believed that he was the representative of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 1MDB, the High Court heard.

Azmi, 49, said this was because Jho Low was introduced to him by Najib’s late principal private secretary, Datuk Azlin Alias.

Azlin died in a helicopter crash on April 4, 2015.

Azmi was being cross-examined as the 12th prosecution witness by Najib’s counsel Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh at the former premier’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.3bil in funds from 1MDB, Bernama reported.

Hariharan: As the then CFO, don’t you think it was inappropriate to take instructions from Jho Low who was not part of the company (1MDB)?

Azmi: No... because, the events leading to how I met him and all that, and what I believed and everyone else, too. We thought he was legitimately representing Datuk Seri Najib. I didn’t meet him off the road somewhere, he was introduced by the late Azlin.

Azmi then testified on the meeting on Dec 15, 2013, at Najib’s residence with KPMG Malaysia.

The meeting was held as KPMG was dissatisfied with the inadequate explanations and documents provided in relation to the company’s huge investment of US$2.3 billion in an unknown fund, Bridge Global SPC, which was made through Brazen Sky Ltd, a special purpose vehicle of 1MDB.

Azmi, along with former 1MDB chief executive officer Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and former 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, were in attendance together with Jho Low and Najib.

Hariharan asked Azmi why he did not verify these transfers when he met Najib at the meeting.

The witness said in hindsight, he should have, but did not think it was an appropriate forum to speak to Najib about it.

To another question, the witness agreed that Jho Low had benefited from the movement of funds from 1MDB to his company, namely, Good Star Ltd.

Azmi, however, disagreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that he was part of Jho Low’s plan to misappropriate 1MDB funds.

He also said that he had carried out instructions from Jho Low without questioning him.

Najib, who is Pekan MP, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today.

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