Ex-1MDB CEO agrees Jho Low, Patrick Mahony and Tarek Obaid conspired to mislead Najib

Former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 6, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 6, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Former 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi agreed with the assertion by the trial’s defence that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho had conspired with two Petrosaudi International Limited (PSI) directors, Patrick Mahoney and Tarek Obaid to mislead former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the High Court heard today.

The assertion was put forward by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who quizzed Shahrol on the content of an email between Obaid and Mahony, who had conspired with Low to not tell Najib about a US$500 million loss on the abortive joint venture between 1MDB and PSI.

The email that was read out in court by Shafee showed that Obaid and Mahony, along with Low intended to write-off the loss that was supposedly caused by 1MDB’s “broken promises and delays”.

“Based on point four and only point four, it does look like there is a conspiracy to mislead the prime minister,’’ said Shahrol.

Shahrol was referring to a paragraph on the email where Mahoney wrote to Obaid: “I think saying delays have cost us ... helps us because we can then blame them for the losses later.’’

Shafee also suggested to Shahrol that all three financiers had siphoned the US$500 million for their own personal use and had conspired to defraud more funds from 1MDB.  

However, Shahrol responded that he was not comfortable to agree with Shafee’s suggestion, stating that he does not have complete information to conclude with the latter’s assertion.

Sometime in August 2010, all three financiers instead intended to convince Najib to invest another US$500 million with them to supposedly capture other lucrative investment opportunities.

Yesterday, Shahrol explained that 1MDB had made serious losses in its business dealings with PSI, including on an initial US$1 billion investment, a US$500 million loan in 2010 and another US$330 million loan in 2011.

Shahrol had also previously testified that the US$1 billion was paid out in the form of US$300 million to the PSI-1MDB joint venture company and US$700 million company to Good Star Limited.

The prosecutors have said that US$20 million of the US$700 million paid out to fugitive businessman Low's Good Star was allegedly channelled to Najib.

In September, Shafee had also quizzed Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazarrudin on the same email by Obaid and Mahony.  

Amhari also agreed with Shafee that there is a “possibility” Najib was misled based on the emails.

Shahrol is the ninth prosecution witness testifying against Najib, with today being Day 31 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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