SRC trial: Former YR1M CEO worked for investment firm controlled by Jho Low

Lawyer Ung Su Ling explained in court today how those who worked at the Malaysian arm of the Singaporean firm also knew Jho Low controlled the company. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Lawyer Ung Su Ling explained in court today how those who worked at the Malaysian arm of the Singaporean firm also knew Jho Low controlled the company. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The former chief executive of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) previously worked for Wynton Private Equity Group Sdn Bhd from 2004 to 2006, an investment firm formerly owned by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, the High Court heard today.

Ung Su Ling, a lawyer and the prosecution’s 49th witness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, explained in court today how those who worked at the Malaysian arm of the Singaporean firm also knew Low controlled the company.

Ung, who was YR1M’s chief executive from January 2013 to May 2018, told Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during cross examination today that she was not given an official designation within the startup, and mostly handled administrative and secretarial matters.

Shafee: What did you do while working in Wynton?

Ung: In Wynton it was more of an administrative thing, there were deals that the principles wanted to put in place, so basically (it would be me) prepping either the documents or meeting people.

Shafee: So what was your position in Wynton?

Ung: There was no real position, maybe an executive. I also helped set up the office, to oversee the renovation as it was a startup.

Shafee: Don't be startled, I just need to ask this, the Wynton (Private) Equity Group, is it not connected to Jho Low?

Ung: Yes it is.

Shafee: How is he connected?

Ung: I would describe him as the principal.

Shafee: So, basically he owned the company?

Ung: Yes.

Over the course of the cross examination, Ung had also revealed her past positions as detailed by Shafee.

“Oh, I see you’re going through my jagged past,” Ung said before Shafee began reading through her background.

Ung had in the 1990s held positions in PhileoAllied Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, the Malaysian Exchange of Securities Dealing and Automated Quotation (Mesdaq), now the ACE Market, and then moving on to Lotus Asset Management (now Merican & Partners Asset Management) as a compliance officer until 2002.

Ung, after a spate of unemployment, then joined the Wynton Private Equity Group in 2004 until 2006, before being appointed as the personal assistant of CIMB Group’s CEO Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, who is Najib’s brother, later that year. 

“I was the personal assistant to Datuk Seri Nazir Razak at that time where primarily I wrote his speeches, and I was given the position of senior manager,” she said when explaining her role there.

Ung, who in April this year was announced Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) chief operating officer, confirmed in court today the appointment had in the end not gone through.

Her appointment had raised eyebrows considering her connection with Low, and after reports emerged that accused her of spending millions of Ringgits for political purposes for the benefit of Barisan Nasional, added with the fact she was YR1M’s chief executive.

“No, it (the appointment) didn't happen, after all that,” she told Shafee.

Najib is on trial for seven charges of abuse of position, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering over RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

During the course of the trial, witnesses have testified that Retirement Fund (Incorporated) granted a total of RM4 billion in loans in August 2011 and March 2012 to SRC International, with money allegedly flowing through other companies before being transferred into Najib’s accounts.

At the time of the first loan application, SRC International was the wholly-owned subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which was owned by the Finance Ministry’s Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc); while SRC International was parked directly under MoF Inc by the time of the second loan application.

The trial before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes tomorrow.

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