Most countries did not agree to record conversations, 1MDB trial told

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia had asked several countries to record the conversations of bank witnesses in connection with the investigation into corruption and money laundering involving RM2.3bil from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

However, only Singapore acceded to the request, the High Court here was told.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) senior superintendent Nur Aida Ariffin, 37, said Switzerland, Barbados and the Netherlands, as well as Hong Kong, did not provide any response or feedback when she made the application through the Attorney General in 2018 and 2019, Bernama reported.

“Singapore was the only country that cooperated, with witness Kevin Michael Swampillai (PW44), the former head of BSI Bank’s Fund Management Services (Singapore), providing evidence to the investigation team.

“Another witness from the same bank, (former BSI Bank managing director) Yak Yew Chee, refused to testify in Malaysia,” she said when cross-examined by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is representing Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Asked by Muhammad Shafee about Yak’s whereabouts, Nur Aida replied, “Don’t know.”

In November 2016, Yak was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail and fined S$24,000 (RM85,250 at current rates) by a Singapore court after pleading guilty to two counts of forgery and two counts of failing to disclose suspicious transactions related to 1MDB.

Earlier, the 49th prosecution witness said the applications to record written conversations were made to Switzerland and Singapore on Aug 23, 2018, Barbados on March 6, 2019, and Hong Kong on Jan 22, 2019.

Nur Aida said the contact was made to validate documents obtained by the prosecution through mutual legal assistance (MLA) to aid in the investigation of the case involving the former prime minister.

Najib, 70, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today.

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