KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Letters of support for PetroSaudi International (PSI) that aimed to clear the company of suspicion in 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) could have been forgeries created by Low Taek Jho, the High Court was told today.
Testifying at the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was his former boss, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin said he and another ex-colleague, the late Datuk Azlin, were shown five letters of support purportedly from various international financial firms and even the Saudi Arabian government that claimed to prove PSI to be a legitimate entity.
“Jho Low at the time wanted to show that PetroSaudi was a legitimate company that is related to and had the support of the Arab Saudi government as well as connections to the Saudi Royal family.
“Low had shown the letter to us after the misappropriation of 1MDB funds by PetroSaudi into the accounts that were suspected of belonging to him have been widely publicised.
“The letters were made as evidence to show that PetroSaudi did not commit any wrongdoings,” Amhari, the eighth witness said.
He said the letters surfaced between late 2014 and early 2015 as a means of “damage control” after the 1MDB scandal was exposed.
Amhari said he now believes the letters could be forged as Low was well-connected to “influential figures”, but that he thought they were genuine initially.
“At that time, I believed that these letters were the originals based on the letterhead of each letter. However, based on what I’ve seen and gone through to this day, I can say that the verses and the contents of this letter were able to be managed and planned fully by Jho Low.
“This is based on Jho Low’s modus operandi which set the agenda and placed his own people in various positions to approve and to conduct a particular agenda.
“He is capable and very influential, including ensuring his contacts can influence the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Kuala Lumpur, the ambassador of Malaysia to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian banks, the Helvetica company and JP Morgan Suisse Bank to produce letters according to his intended purposes.
The letters allegedly produced by Low were as follows: Letter of support in relation to Petrosaudi International Ltd from Saudi embassy in Malaysia to Najib, letter of confirmation from the Malaysian Ambassador in Saudi to 1MDB, letter of confirmation in relation to Petrosaudi from Helvetica Wealth Management firm to 1MDB, letter of support in relation to Petrosaudi from JP Morgan to 1MDB and a letter of support in relation to PetroSaudi from a Saudi Bank represented by Tarek Obaid to 1MDB.
The letters were also meant to show that PSI has completed all of its commitments to 1MDB and any investigations into the 1MDB scandal could be called off, said Amhari.
This was due to the special task force formed in 2015 that consist of the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption (MACC) Commissioner and the Governor of the Central Bank that was charged to investigate the 1MDB scandal.
The letters were also accompanied by other supporting documents meant to show that the joint venture between PSI and 1MDB had yielded positive results, said Amhari.
Earlier, Amhari also stated that following the exposure of the 1MDB scandal, Low had instructed both him and Azlin to destroy or shred any documents he had passed on to them, fearing it might be circulated to the public.
“Even though Jho Low had instructed me to destroy the documents of fear it being leaked, there are still some in my possession,’’ he said.