1MDB trial: Prosecution out to prove that Jho Low was Najib's alter ego, court told

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur August 28, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur August 28, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — The prosecution in the RM2.3 billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption trial will set out to prove that Datuk Seri Najib Razak and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho were in cahoots, with Low functioning as Najib’s alter ego, the High Court was told today.

In reading the opening statement, appointed prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said the prosecution will, through its evidence, prove that Low, also known as Jho Low, was the mirror image of Najib in all dealings related to 1MDB.

“In truth, Jho Low was the accused’s mirror image.

“If you put the accused before the mirror, you will see Jho Low. If you put Jho Low before the mirror, you will see the accused,” quipped Sri Ram.

“The prosecution will establish facts which will give rise to an irresistible inference that Jho Low and the accused acted as one at all material times,” he added.

Sri Ram also said the prosecution would seek to prove that Najib had used his position as chairman, and that of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to carry out certain acts and exert influence over 1MDB’s board and perform abnormal transactions with ‘undue haste’.

“The ultimate aim of the accused was to obtain gratification for himself. He succeeded in achieving that aim.

“In respect to these charges, the prosecution will prove, through direct and circumstantial evidence that the accused, first in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and later as Prime Minister of Malaysia and Minister of Finance took several steps that led to part of 1MDB’s funds being channeled into his account through a circuitous route to prevent detection of its source.

“The accused thereby used his position for gratification. In each of the phases the accused acted as one with Jho Low,” read Sri Ram.

The opening statement also states how the accused had caused amendments to be made to the articles of the company to place himself in sole control of important matters within 1MDB, concerning the business affairs.

“In short, he was its plenipotentiary.

“Additionally, he was the chairman of the board of advisors.”

Sri Ram also read how the monies from 1MDB were siphoned through four stages, saying it was the product of an ‘elaborate charade’ that was employed by the accused, Low, and several other characters.

“But it was the accused who played a pivotal role. His objective was to enrich himself,” he read.

Later on, Sri Ram also said Najib had interfered with investigations into the case and took active steps to evade justice.

“He took active steps to effect a cover up of his criminal acts.

“The prosecution will rely on all this evidence to show that the accused had the requisite mens rea when the offences with which he is charged were committed,” said Sri Ram, referring to the legal term of having the intent to commit a wrongdoing.

The Pekan MP is facing a total of 25 charges, namely four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.

Najib's 1MDB trial is heard before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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