Bank Negara teams raided AmBank branch in 2015 for Najib’s accounts, court told

Bank Negara Malaysia maanger Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin is seen at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex in Kuala Lumpur April 17, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Bank Negara Malaysia maanger Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin is seen at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex in Kuala Lumpur April 17, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — The High Court today heard that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) had sent three teams to raid Ambank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch in 2015 for accounts under Datuk Seri Najib Razak and companies linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

BNM manager Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, who is the fourth prosecution witness in Najib’s SRC International Sdn Bhd money-laundering trial, revealed that two of the three teams had assisted a special task force on 1MDB that was formed that same year.

“The two teams (assisting the task force) were led by Badrul Hisham and Nurul Ain.

“The other team was headed by BNM investigation officer Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar,” he said during cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh on the number of search parties sent to AmBank on July 6.

The special task force was headed by then attorney general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, then BNM governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, then inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, and then MACC chief Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed.

It had sent investigators on July 3, 2015 to raid and retrieve documents from SRC International, and its two subsidiaries, Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd and Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd.

The special task force was, however, disbanded a month later.

Ahmad Farhan, who was attached to BNM’s Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Unit at the time, explained that he was asked to come to work early the night before the July 6 raid and a similar order was also communicated to Azizul by him.

“My boss (department’s director Abd Rahman Abu Bakar) had asked me to come earlier but I was not aware of any raid scheduled,” he said.

When asked by Harvinderjit whether Ahmad Farhan inquired with his superior on the purpose of coming early, Ahmad Farhan said he could not recall.

He then recounted that Abdul Rahman instructed him to conduct a raiding exercise at AmBank to carry out investigations in relation to purported breaches by the banking institution under Part IV of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA).

“During the meeting around 7am (July 6), my boss gave me a list of banking accounts to check including accounts belonging to Najib.

“I then gave the same list of banking accounts to Azizul and conveyed our director’s instructions to him orally that same morning,” he said.

Azizul had testified in court earlier this week that he had been tasked then with “raiding Ambank to assist investigations” over suspected offences committed under anti-money laundering laws.

He said he seized eight folders with information relating to the opening of four Najib accounts, three accounts of SRC International and one account of SRC International’s subsidiary, Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd, in Ambank.

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