1MDB trial: Witness surprised at Jho Low's denial over communication on managing Najib's AmBank accounts

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak's former relationship manager at AmBank said she was surprised to hear fugitive financier Low Taek Jho had denied communicating with her over the management of the former premier's bank accounts.

Joanna Yu, who is the 41st prosecution witness in the RM2.28bil 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) graft trial involving Najib, has consistently told the High Court that she dealt with Low, or better known as Jho Low, to get instructions on Najib's accounts.

Low's denial was brought up by Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah here at the High Court on Thursday (Feb 2).

The defence has previously contended that Low was the "mastermind" behind the 1MDB scandal while Yu testified before that she would receive instructions from Low on managing Najib's bank account whenever she could not get hold of Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who is the mandate holder to Najib's bank accounts.

Muhammad Shafee said Low made the denial in his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2015 where he said he could not recognise an exchange of messages, purportedly with Yu, over BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

Muhammad Shafee: Are you surprised that Jho Low said he couldn't recognise the BBM messages? In fact, he denied talking to you via the BBM messages.

Yu: I don't know what he said.

The witness said she was unsure how the questions were posed to Low by the MACC.

Muhammad Shafee: He (Low) was shown the BBM chats and he said he couldn't recognise the messages... that he never spoke to Joanna Yu. You'd be surprised?

Yu: Yes.

Shafee: He said that he had nothing to do with bringing Najib's accounts to the bank.

(The High Court had previously heard that it was Low who initiated the opening of Najib's bank accounts at AmBank)

Yu: I would be surprised.

Yu also denied receiving any bribe from Low, particularly an iPhone 5S.

She testified that Low had offered the phone to her but she declined it with the excuse that she did not want or need a phone.

The witness also said she had rejected job offers from Low several times because she did not want to work according to Low's lifestyle.

"He kept asking but I just said no, I will think about it," Yu added.

Najib, 70, is on trial for 25 charges in total - four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.

The trial continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Friday (Feb 3).

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Najib Razak , 1MDB , Joanna Yu , Low Taek Jho , High Court


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