‘Bank Negara never told of Arab donation letters meant for Najib’


KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia was never made aware about three letters regarding Arab donation from an individual alleged to be a member of the Saudi royal family and which were addressed to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the High Court was told.

Former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the three letters, dated Nov 1, 2011, March 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014 were never disclosed to the central bank and were only discovered during a joint raid by Bank Negara and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at AmBank on July 6, 2015.

“During the raid, it was discovered that the account codenamed AmPrivate Banking – MR (Najib’s account) had been closed and the three accounts (also Najib) that were opened in 2013 had also been closed. Neither AmBank nor Datuk Seri Najib had forwarded these letters to Bank Negara. In addition, two letters purportedly issued to Bank Negara by the then group managing director, Ashok Ramamurthy, only surfaced during the investigation by Bank Negara in July 2015,” she said, adding that there is no record that the two letters dated Sept 21, 2012 and April 30, 2013 were ever sent by AmBank or received by Bank Negara.

Zeti said this when reading out her witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib at the former Pekan MP’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3bil from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds, reported Bernama.

Earlier, Zeti said the investigation into 1MDB started after Bank Negara received disclosure on a confidential basis on March 13, 2015 regarding a foreign entity that had transferred a major sum of funds to an entity in their jurisdiction that was beneficially owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

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