Najib’s RM42m trial: Spider web of money transfers involving his personal accounts

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 26, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 26, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — A flurry of fund transfers involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts were part of a complex money trail that has emerged in the former prime minister’s money laundering trial.

Najib is currently on trial over seven charges, including money laundering and criminal breach of trust of over RM42 million belonging to former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

At the start of Najib’s trial, Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas said evidence would show that the RM42 million flowed from SRC International through two other companies before reaching Najib’s accounts.

So what happened to the RM42 million in Najib’s accounts that are said to be proceeds of unlawful activities, or funds from illegal sources?

Here’s what we know so far of the complex web of bank transactions that involved major local banks.

Malay Mail gives you a quick breakdown of money transfers between Najib’s bank accounts based on news reports and testimony provided by the 21st prosecution witness — AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi.

SRC International’s bank accounts

SRC International opened two bank accounts at AmBank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch in 2011, which is where the story begins, based on court evidence available so far.

SRC International’s first AmIslamic Bank current account (2112022009-736) was registered at this bank branch on January 28, 2011, with four authorised signatories that comprised of two directors and two senior officers from SRC International.

SRC International then opened another AmIslamic Bank current account (2112022010-650) at the same branch on November 10, 2011.

The listed signatories for the second account were five SRC International directors, namely Datuk Ismee Ismail, Datuk Che Abdullah @Rashidi Che Omar, Datuk Suboh Md Yassin, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

SRC’s money starts flowing

A total of RM4 billion was pumped into SRC International’s two accounts at AmIslamic Bank within months of their opening in 2011, based on bank statements.

This was done via the injecting of RM2 billion (in four separate transactions of RM500 million) into account-736 all on August 29, 2011, while another RM2 billion was credited in one lump sum into the account-650 on March 28, 2012.

About two years later after the mass influx of billions in ringgit, a total of RM85 million started being transferred out from SRC International’s account-650 via four transactions that were detected between July 2014 and February 2015.

All four transactions were authorised by SRC International directors Nik Faisal and Suboh, with the recipients of these funds being Putra Perdana Construction Sdn Bhd and SRC International’s wholly-owned subsidiary Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd.

Based on bank statements, RM35 million went to Putra Perdana’s Maybank account on July 8, 2014, while the remaining went into Gandingan Mentari’s AmBank account in three separate transactions (RM40 million on December 24, 2014; RM5 million on February 5, 2015 and RM5 million on February 6, 2015).

Interestingly, Gandingan Mentari transferred out the same three amounts (RM40 million, RM5 million, RM5 million) on the same day they came in, passing on the money to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd.

(Ihsan Perdana is registered as Yayasan 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s corporate social responsibility programmes provider and is also purportedly SRC International’s corporate social responsibility partner).

These three fund transfers totaling RM50 million to Ihsan Perdana were authorised by Gandingan Mentari’s two signatories, who also happened to be the two SRC directors Nik Faisal and Suboh.

SRC’s money into Najib’s bank accounts

Najib had a total of five AmBank accounts (one savings and four current) registered with AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch, according to bank documents.

His current accounts are listed as 2112022009-694, 2112022011-880, 2112022011-898 and 2112022011-906 while his savings account is listed at 2110020090-481.

Najib’s two older accounts ending 694 and 481 were closed on August 30, 2013 under his instructions in a letter he wrote to the bank branch manager, with the remaining balance of RM12,436,711.87 and RM82.67 respectively transferred to one of his new accounts (account-880).

For the next part, we will focus on accounts ending 898, 906 and 880 that were all opened on July 31, 2013.

It must be noted that, Najib had appointed SRC director Nik Faisal to manage all three current accounts in a letter dated July 31, 2013 (same day current accounts were opened).

Watch out for the complex web of transactions below, where millions in ringgit get passed around between these three Najib accounts that were also used to issue cheques out to other entities.

1. Najib’s account ending 880 (AmPrivate Banking-1MY)

During its brief existence of less than two years from July 2013 to March 2015, Najib’s account-880 received RM64 million via three transactions, based on evidence highlighted in court.

Account statements shown in court revealed that two of the transfers originated from Ihsan Perdana (RM27 million on 26 December, 2014 and RM10 million on February 10, 2015), while another transfer of RM27 million from an unspecified source took place on July 8, 2014.

After the influx of funds totalling RM64 million, over RM63 million was transferred out from Najib’s account-880 via multiple transactions, including distributions to his other accounts and for credit cards.

Here’s where the funds of over RM63 million went:

1.            RM20 million was transferred out to Najib’s account-898 (RM10 million) and account-906 (RM10 million) on July 8, 2014

2.            RM3 million was transferred out to Najib’s account-898 (RM1 million) and account-906 (RM 2 million) on July 23, 2014

3.            RM3,282,734.16 was transferred out to be credited into two Platinum credit cards on August 13, 2014 (It is currently unknown who these credit cards belong to)

4.            RM27 million was transferred out to Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd on December 29, 2014

5.            RM10 million was transferred out to Najib’s account-906 on February 10, 2015

So far, 21 witnesses have testified and the prosecution has already handed over to Najib’s lawyers 35 volumes of documents totalling some 7,000 pages that it would be relying on in the trial.. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
So far, 21 witnesses have testified and the prosecution has already handed over to Najib’s lawyers 35 volumes of documents totalling some 7,000 pages that it would be relying on in the trial.. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

2. Najib’s account ending 906 (AmPrivate Banking-MY)

For account-906, many would be familiar with this account as bank documents and witness testimonies previously showed that Najib had used this account to issue 14 cheques worth RM7.2 million to multiple recipients.

The cheque recipients include a welfare home, political parties Umno and Upko, contractors who installed water tanks or carried out renovation works at Najib’s residences, and several associates that among other things helped monitor Chinese sentiment in six local Chinese dailies.

As mentioned earlier, this account-906 of Najib’s received RM22 million via three fund transfers from Najib’s account-880 between July 2014 and February 2015.

This same account-906 also received RM10 million (August 21, 2014) and RM1 million (August 28, 2014) from yet another Najib account (account-898), banking statements reveal.

Beside the transfers in totalling RM33 million from Najib’s account-880 and account-898, RM5 million from Ihsan Perdana also found its way into the account-906 on December 26, 2014.

3. Najib’s account ending 898 (AmPrivate Banking Y-1MY)

This account-898 received a total of RM11 million via two fund transfers from Najib’s account-880 in July 2014, as mentioned earlier.

This account-898 also received RM3.5 million from account-906 on February 11, 2015.

Account-898 is notable for issuing a RM3.5 million cheque on January 21, 2015 to law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak.

Back to the present

Najib has since closed all three current accounts (880, 906 and 898) as of March 9, 2015 and transferred all remaining balance in a single cheque to the account of Ihsan Perdana.  

Compared to the millions in ringgit that once flowed through these three current accounts, the remaining balance when they were closed is a pittance —— RM690.11 (account-880), RM101,952.14 (account-906) and RM721.57 (account-898).

Last year Najib was charged with seven charges related to criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC International’s funds.

Trial is expected to resume today, the same day the High Court will deliver its decision on whether Najib succeeds in his challenge against all seven charges which he claimed were defective.

Trial had previously been set to run until May 10.

So far, 21 witnesses have testified and the prosecution has already handed over to Najib’s lawyers 35 volumes of documents totalling some 7,000 pages that it would be relying on in the trial.

Throughout the course of the trial, Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had claimed that Najib was a “victim” of a conspiracy by fugitive businessman Jho Low.