KUALA LUMPUR: The large transactions involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bank account made it a “sensitive one” that could even affect the value of the ringgit, the High Court was told.
“The transaction amount was large. If the market actually knew in terms of this amount, definitely the market would have taken a position. And it would affect the ringgit value,” said AmBank Private Banking capital market desk head, Yap Wai Keat, 57.
He said the account was also considered a “sensitive” one as the then prime minister was a politically exposed person (PEP). He added that the bank had to be careful in handling such sensitive accounts involving large transactions.
The prosecution witness said this during cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed in the RM2.28bil 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial here yesterday.
Wan Aizuddin had asked Yap on how he knew the account ending 694, which had been given a code name “AmPrivate Banking – MR”, belonged to Najib.
Yap said he was informed by Najib’s AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu that the Pekan MP was the beneficiary.
The witness was asked again by the lawyer on what made the account “sensitive”, and he replied that it was due to Najib being the prime minister at that time.
He added it was also due to the large amounts involved.
Wan Aizuddin: Assuming that a sum of US$10mil was coming into Malaysia to be converted into ringgit and the beneficiary was not Najib, would that change the position with the market?
Yap: That would not change the position with the market because US$10mil was not much as compared to the amount coming into Datuk Seri’s (Najib) account.
A day earlier, Yap had testified that RM2.23bil flowed from a Saudi prince and two entities linked to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho between 2011 and 2013.
Yap said yesterday these were other reasons the account needed to be handled carefully.
“That’s why I think Joanna (Yu) created the code name for Datuk Seri’s account.”
Najib, 69, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.28bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.