1MDB trial: Loo denies being part of 'inner circle conspiracy' against Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) general counsel Jasmine Loo has denied being part of an inner circle that conspired against Datuk Seri Najib Razak in embezzling billions from its funds.

Calling it "impossible", Jasmine Loo told the High Court here that she did not conspire with former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi in the sovereign wealth fund scandal.

"I disagree, it was impossible for me to do so, that would be like digging my own grave," said Loo.

ALSO READ: Loo says she did not make any deal to testify against Najib

The 50th prosecution witness was under re-examination by DPP Deepa Nair Thevaharan in Najib's RM2.28bil 1MDB trial on Friday (April 5).

To a question by Deepa, Loo admitted that she was aware of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho's (or Jho Low) habit of name-dropping but she believed him when he represented himself as a spokesman for Najib.

She said subsequent events would substantiate everything that Low said.

"For instance, during a meeting in London in 2011, Jho Low told me beforehand that Najib would be there and that we (1MDB management) should prepare the necessary documents for an additional US$1bil loan.

"This is also what Shahrol instructed, but Jho Low also told me the same thing, and subsequently, that transaction did happen," she said.

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

Loo also testified that Najib cleared her in 2017 of wrongdoings in 1MDB after she was called to give a statement to Bank Negara (BNM) and the police in 2016.

"Eventually, I only gave a statement to BNM. However, there was no action taken against me by both authorities in 2016.

"In fact, I believe Najib cleared me. I recall seeing a news article where Najib, in a parliamentary reply in his capacity as finance minister at that time, said the investigation on me and Casey Tang (another 1MDB executive) had been completed and we have been removed from the BNM watchlist," she said.

The witness was referring to media reports on March 8, 2017 regarding Najib's response to a written question by an Opposition party member, former Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen.

Najib's written parliamentary reply on that day stated that Loo and Tang had been removed from the central bank's watchlist and this action was taken following the completion of investigations by the authorities.

ALSO READ: Loo says Jho Low went from friend to foe

Najib's lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, objected to this and said both Loo and Tang were removed from the BNM watchlist because the central bank had issued a compound against 1MDB.

“The police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission did not clear her,” Muhammad Shafee said.

Earlier, Loo also admitted that she received RM100mil from Low as a gift despite resigning from 1MDB in 2013.

Loo said she received the monetary gift in 2014 and that it was held in a trust where she ended up as the beneficiary.

Muhammad Shafee: Why did he give you RM100mil for someone who had acted as legal advisor to 1MBD?

Loo: I held the money in a trust.

Muhammad Shafee: Did you end up as the beneficiary?

Loo: Yes, it was a gift.

The witness then said the money was for an investment agreement that she had with Low in his company.

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

Loo also testified that she had kept US$4.5mil that was deposited by Low in her account for purchase of a statue meant as a present for Prince Faisal Turki Al-Saud.

She had kept the money despite the deal for the statue being unsuccessful as Low had "changed his mind".

Loo disagreed that she kept the money conveniently because it was payment for "work" she had done in 1MDB.

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 April 22.

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