1MDB trial: Jho Low swore to make my life a 'living hell', Jasmine Loo tells court

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) general counsel Jasmine Loo told the High Court that she became a fugitive for five years after Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, swore to make her life "a living hell" if she returned to Malaysia.

In an explosive testimony, the 50th prosecution witness finally told her tale of how she came to live abroad from April 2018.

"I had no intention of going away. I was already in Bangkok at the time when the 14th General Election (GE14) results came out," she said at Datuk Seri Najib Razak's RM2.28bil 1MDB trial here on Wednesday (Feb 14).

Najib's Barisan Nasional coalition had lost the election in an unprecedented defeat during GE14.

Loo said she was instructed by Low, who is a central figure in the 1MDB scandal and a fugitive himself, to remain abroad and not return to Malaysia.

"He said to me that things would get very ugly for me and 'you will be much worse' if I return to Malaysia... and that he will resolve things and he promised to resolve things.

ALSO READ: 1MDB trial: I waited outside Najib’s house while Jho Low went in to get signature, says Jasmine Loo

"I feared what would happen to me. And I stayed (in Bangkok) for fear of reprisal," she said.

When asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Deepa Nair Thevaharan if she (Loo) had received any threats, the star witness answered in the affirmative.

"Basically Jho Lo had sworn to turn my life into a living hell and to use his every resource and power to ensure that I meet a terrible end if I returned to Malaysia," she said.

Loo said she did not work while she lived abroad but survived on whatever funds she had.

She said occasionally, Low would send someone or strangers to deliver funds of approximately US$2,500 to her for another year's expenses.

The witness admitted that it was "deplorable" to have to rely on someone who had threatened her life but she said she had no choice as she had no other means.

"It's deplorable. But basically, I needed (the funds) to survive, and yet I was waiting to find a safe way to return to Malaysia.

ALSO READ: 1MDB trial: Jho Low wanted to be known as Najib's proxy, says Jasmine Loo

"So in the meantime, I had to rely on him without him knowing that I was going to return to Malaysia and for my plans not to endanger me. I fear for my own life, basically," she added.

As she was in Bangkok, Loo said it made her "acutely aware" of what had happened to 1MDB whistleblower Xavier Justo and she did not want to become the "next Xavier Justo".

"My desire was always to return home to cooperate with the authorities but I felt cornered in the circumstances, in which I felt I could not safely return," she said.

Around 2019, Loo said she began discussions to return home and when the Covid-19 pandemic happened in 2020, everything came to a standstill.

"After that, I sought legal advice as to how to secure safe passage home to Malaysia.

"In April 2021, my lawyers submitted a representation to the Attorney General's Chambers offering my cooperation and seeking safe passage to Malaysia. It was only until lately (July 2023) that I returned," Loo said.

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 trial continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Friday.

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1MDB , Jasmine Loo , Trial , Najib Razak , Jho Low


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