1MDB trial: Shafee disputes Loo's claim that directors followed Najib's orders blindly

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has refuted claims by former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) general counsel Jasmine Loo that its board of directors blindly followed Datuk Seri Najib Razak's instructions "like lambs to the slaughter".

Loo, who was being cross-examined by Muhammad Shafee in Najib's RM2.28bil 1MDB trial on Tuesday (April 2), testified that the board blindly followed and took comfort in whatever Najib had approved as per Article 117 of the memorandum & articles of association (M&A).

Muhammad Shafee questioned the witness whether the board members did not exercise their minds when they "followed" Najib's decisions.

Loo replied that Article 117 requires the approval of the prime minister for substantial transactions.

Muhammad Shafee: My client, the Finance Minister, did it in accordance with the law... he took note of the directors and he gave approval as stated in Article 117 as the shareholder. So where is the inconsistency? So where is the paper that made the PM a monster (who) led the poor directors like lambs to the slaughter?

Loo: Although it doesn’t say, in sum and substance it’s the same. 1MDB treated the shareholder (Najib) in his capacity as the prime minister.

Article 117 states that the prime minister has the final say to the M&A amendments or appointment and dismissal of directors and highest management of 1MDB.

It also states that any investment, financial and structuring decision involving the company's interests that are closely related to any national interest, security and government policy must obtain written approval from the prime minister.

The hearing was cut short for the day after the court was informed that Najib was unwell.

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 Wednesday (April 3).

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