Ex-1MDB CEO claims would have quit if could go back in time

Former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 29, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 29, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi today said he would have resigned as chief executive of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) if he could revisit the opportunity.

Shahrol, who was 1MDB CEO from 2009 to 2013, was testifying as the ninth prosecution witness against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the latter’s corruption trial over 1MDB funds.

Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was asking Shahrol whether he would have more thoroughly verified information obtained from former 1MDB official Casey Tang and Najib’s purported adviser, Low Taek Jho, with the benefit of hindsight.

“I probably would have resigned on the spot,” Shahrol replied tangentially and without elaborating.

Shafee then suggested that Shahrol would not have employed Tang.

This resulted in another oblique reply.

“I already said this, that I believe and still believe today that 1MDB is a strategic vehicle of Datuk Seri Najib. I served him and I wanted to serve him well,” Shahrol said.

When Shafee asked for his confirmation that he did not mean anything “adverse” when saying strategic vehicle in reference to 1MDB as a sovereign wealth fund, Shahrol replied in the affirmative.

Shafee took his line of questioning after highlighting that Tang signed off on two fraudulent agreements on behalf of 1MDB to justify a US$700 million transaction, and how Low had also misled Shahrol.

Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial involves 25 criminal charges — four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering. 

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