US$120mil from KWAP loan to SRC landed in Najib's account, court told

KUALA LUMPUR: Some US$120mil of the loan from Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International Sdn Bhd landed in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's bank account between 2011 and 2012, the High Court here was told.

Offshore asset recovery specialist Angela Barkhouse testified that the money entered Najib's personal AmBank account through three transactions from a company called Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners.

The first tranche was US$70mil (Dec 29, 2011), with the second and third tranches of US$25mil each on March 12 and May 22, 2012.

ALSO READ: SRC's loans from KWAP not used for intended purpose, High Court told

"These transactions were tagged with the reference 'AMPrivate Banking' in Blackstone bank statements, and I was able to approximately match incoming amounts in Ringgit Malaysia (RM) to the transactions out of the Blackstone account in US dollars by applying a currency conversion.

"Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil (former SRC International chief executive officer) also received US$82,000 from Blackstone Asia between Jan 27 and Feb 8, 2012," she said in court on Monday (March 11).

An expert in financial investigation, Barkhouse is the second witness in the hearing of a lawsuit filed by SRC International against former prime minister Najib and Nik Faisal over allegations of breach of statutory duties.

ALSO READ: ‘SRC victim of grand fraud’

Barkhouse was the liquidator for SRC BVI, a subsidiary of SRC International.

The Briton was testifying in the hearing through Zoom before Justice Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin here.

Barkhouse also told the court that funds were moved out of Blackstone to various intermediaries, including Najib's stepson's film production company, Red Granite Capital Ltd (US$17.5mil), US$24.8mil to Brightstone Jewellery Ltd, and Alsen Chance Holdings Ltd (US$168.5mil), both reported to be owned by Jho Low's associate Tan Kim Loong.

The witness said that based on the evidence available to her, particularly her review of banking information relevant to Alsen Chance and Brightstone, the companies were shell companies that conducted no legitimate business other than laundering funds misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad and SRC International.

Under new management, SRC filed the legal action in May 2021, alleging that Najib had committed a breach of trust and abuse of power, misappropriated the company's funds, and personally benefitted from them.

It named Najib, along with its former directors Datuk Suboh Md Yassin, Datuk Mohammed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, Datuk Che Abdullah @ Rashidi Che Omar, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Tan Sri Ismee Ismail in May 2021.

However, later, it removed six names from the suit and retained Najib and Nik Faisal as the first and second defendants.

Additionally, Najib brought in the former named SRC International directors as third-party respondents in the suit.

Najib was SRC’s emeritus advisor from May 1, 2012, until March 4, 2019.

The company is seeking general, exemplary and additional damages, interests, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

It also seeks a court declaration that Najib is responsible for the company’s losses due to his breach of duties and trusts and demands that Najib pay back the RM42mil in losses that it suffered.

The hearing continues on Tuesday (March 12).

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