Najib’s trial: BNM seized AmBank bankers’ phones, thumbdrives, emails in 2015 raid

Bank Negara Malaysia manager Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex April 22, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Bank Negara Malaysia manager Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex April 22, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) seized several mobile phones, data storage devices and copies of emails from AmBank bankers during a raid in July 2015, the High Court heard today in an ongoing trial against Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

BNM officer Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin today produced a written list dated July 6, 2015 of seven items seized at Level 24 of the AmBank Group Building along Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur.

In the list read out by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, there were a total of four thumbdrives seized, one hard disk with 1 TB, one Blackberry Bold phone from AmBank banker Joanna Yu and one Samsung Galaxy phone from Yu’s fellow banker Krystle Yap.

The four thumbdrives seized comprised of three 4GB thumbdrives and one 8GB thumbdrives.

Ahmad Farhan, a manager at BNM’s Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department, said the department’s forensic unit informed him that two phones were seized from Yu and Yap during the July 6, 2015 raid.

“On July 6, the phones were handed over to the forensic team. And on July 8, I received instructions from (department director) Abd Rahman Abu Bakar to instruct the forensic team to extract data from the phones,” he said.

Ahmad Farhan said that a copy of the forensic team’s report of data extracted from the phones were handed over to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in August 2015 upon the latter’s request, with the report also coming with a compact disc (CD) containing transcripts of conversations in the phones.

Ahmad Farhan said the transcripts are not in his possession.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 22, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 22, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

When asked if the report on the extracted data was only on Yu’s Blackberry phone or also involved Yap’s phone, Ahmad Farhan said this matter was not within his knowledge.

Ahmad Farhan said Yu’s Blackberry phone was handed over to the MACC in a tamper-proof bag in November 2015 upon the anti-graft body’s request, adding that he does not know what happened to Yap’s phone.

Ahmad Farhan said he did not have the voice recordings of official phone conversations involving AmBank’s officers which Najib’s lawyers had asked for.

He also produced two sets of hard copies of emails involving AmBank officers that were in his possession, including one set seized during the July 6, 2015 raid.

The other set of emails were documents that AmBank handed over to Bank Negara Malaysia to assist in a special taskforce’s investigation on 1MDB, with this set received after the raiding exercise but within July 2015.

Ahmad Farhan had last week testified as the fourth prosecution witness in Najib’s trial over RM42 million of former 1MDB unit SRC International Sdn Bhd, but had returned this week to present additional documents that were in his custody and sought for by Najib’s lawyers.

Last week, Harvinderjit had read from pages 221 and 299 of the Billion Dollar Whale book on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, as well as cited three Wall Street Journal articles and publications to justify the request for the additional documents.

The excerpt from page 221 which Harvinderjit had read aloud was regarding an alleged Blackberry message sent in March 2013 by Low Taek Jho to inform Ambank officer Joanna Yu that “681 American Pies” or the codeword for US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) would be deposited into Najib’s account.

Page 299’s excerpt is in relation to the alleged communication where Yu reassured Low that Najib’s credit card limit then was still US$1 million during a 2014 episode, where the credit card was allegedly used for a US$130,625 bill in a Chanel store in Hawaii.

Trial before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes tomorrow afternoon.

A total of 12 witnesses have testified so far in the trial that is set to run until May 10.

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