Najib's 1MDB trial: G2G meeting on yacht did not follow proper channels, court told

KUALA LUMPUR: A purported government-to-government (G2G) meeting that took place during Datuk Seri Najib Razak's vacation on a yacht in 2009 did not go through the proper and formal channels and had caused huge losses to the nation, the High Court told.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) senior officer, Nur Aida Arifin, testified that there was a meeting between Najib and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (also known as Jho Low) with Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia and Tarek Obaid, who is the PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) director, during Najib's family holiday.

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The holiday meeting was said to have turned into a discussion on diplomatic ventures devoid of any high ranking government officers.

This is despite the government having to foot the loan by issuing a government guarantee, Nur Aida said.

"Najib, as the prime minister, should have known that G2G discussions at the highest level required a formal diplomatic channel and not just an informal discussion on a yacht," she said.

The 49th prosecution witness was reading her witness statement during an examination-in-chief conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Mustaffa P. Kunyalam at Najib's RM2.28bil 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) corruption trial here on Friday (Jan 5).

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Nur Aida also said that the appointment of one Edward L. Morse as a valuer for PSI's assets was suspicious as an asset valuation report involving a huge value of between US$2.7bil and US$4.5bil was prepared in just eight days.

"Najib had instructed Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi (former 1MDB CEO) to not make a valuation on PSI's assets to maintain the good name of Malaysia and Saudi Arabia bilateral ties.

"He (Najib) used Jho Low and Shahrol Azral to force 1MDB board members, through its former chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh, to follow instructions and recommendations in relation to the venture with PSI," she said.

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According to Nur Aida, Najib's usual reasoning of maintaining good G2G ties with Saudi Arabia often resulted in decisions and approvals that did not favour 1MDB or the government.

The court had earlier heard that a joint venture (JV) between 1MDB and PSI saw 1MDB inject US$bil funds in cash as a starting capital.

However, US$700mil from the US$1bil was diverted to Good Star Ltd, a company linked to Jho Low.

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

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Jan 8.

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Najib Razak , 1MDB , Trial , Yacht , Meeting


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