Ex-CEO Shahrol confirms he is ‘1MDB Officer 2’ in US probe, but denies in league with Jho Low

The US DOJ alleged that Shahrol had misled the banks and 1MDB’s board of directors in order to transfer US$700 million to Good Star Ltd, which investigators believed is owned by Jho Low. — Reuters pic
The US DOJ alleged that Shahrol had misled the banks and 1MDB’s board of directors in order to transfer US$700 million to Good Star Ltd, which investigators believed is owned by Jho Low. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the High Court here today that he is the person identified as “1MDB Officer 2” in the United States government’s investigations of the global financial scandal.

However, Shahrol denied that he was complicit in the illegal transfer of funds from the sovereign investment firm into private companies connected to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho as written in the 2016 court files of the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

The filing had identified “1MDB Officer 2” as Malaysian national who served as 1MDB’s chief executive officer between at least 2009 and 2013, in addition to identifying three others nicknamed “1MDB Officer 1”, “1MDB Officer 3” and “Malaysian Official 1” as those responsible for the fund misappropriation.

Shahrol served as 1Malaysia Development Berhad CEO between 2009 and 2013, and was a board member until 2016.

Cross-examined by the lawyer for Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is on trial today, Shahrol confirmed he is the “1MDB Officer 2” stated in the US DOJ filing, but said he did not read the report beyond the allegations because he trusted in the independence of Malaysian investigators and its courts.

“Investigations had already started and I leave it to the authorities here to determine what would be the correct facts. The report said I was complicit in the whole US$700 million going to Good Star Ltd but I wasn’t.

“That is why when I scan the report, I was turned off by it because it didn’t have complete information plus the fact DOJ never asked me what happened.

“I leave it to the authorities in Malaysia to do their work. If they need any statement from me, I'll go and provide,” he said.

In its filing, the US DOJ alleged that Shahrol had misled the banks and 1MDB’s board of directors in order to transfer US$700 million to Good Star Ltd, which investigators believed is owned by the Penang-born better known as Jho Low.

The US$700 million was part of the US$1 billion deal between 1MDB and Saudi-linked PetroSaudi International Limited’s (PSI) purported subsidiary PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd.  

The remaining US$300 million had been transferred to a joint venture company established as per the agreement with PSI.

Najib’s defence counsel Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah also asked Shahrol if he had informed and subsequently sought approval from the 1MDB board to divide the payment and transfer the sum of US$700 million to Good Star Ltd.

The former CEO said no.

Shahrol explained that he was working under immense deadlines to wrap up the deal and was at that time given the impression by Low that it was what Najib wanted.

He said Low assured him that Good Star Ltd was a subsidiary of PSI, which he said was also affirmed by 1MDB's then-executive director of business development, Casey Tang.  

Shahrol told the High Court today that Tang was the “1MDB Officer 1” listed in the US DOJ files.

Shafee then suggested the reason why he had not informed 1MDB board of directors of the payment to Good Star Ltd because he knew about the real owner of the firm, which is Low because both of them had a “hidden agenda”.

Shahrol disagreed.

Shahrol is the ninth prosecution witness testifying against Najib in the latter’s 1MDB corruption trial, with today being Day 26 of the trial.

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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