KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today testified that he was introduced to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, by his stepson Riza Aziz in 2007.
Najib, in his testimony as the first defence witness of his RM42 million SRC International corruption trial, said he was told how Jho Low was a graduate of the Wharton Business School in the US, and a young entrepreneur with several successful businesses.
The former prime minister said he was informed that Low had managed to secure Arab investors for the Iskandar Development project in Johor, besides holding several private investment funds of his own.
“He (Low) happens to be a successful person, who later was also involved with UBG and its acquisition together with Tun Taib Mahmud’s family members.
“After that, I came to know he (Low) also knew His Royal Highness Sultan Mizan as I have previously mentioned concerning the TIA (Terengganu Investment Authority).
“Ultimately Jho Low became an influential person with good relations with royal families and tycoons in UAE (United Arab Emirates) and was capable of having meetings and discussions with them,” he said when reading from his witness statement.
Najib said these representations had caused him to form his confidence in Low, which drove him to place his trust in the financier to acquire ventures from investment companies and bodies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Yesterday, Najib testified that he was of the impression that Low was an influential person who was able to arrange meetings with Middle Eastern nations, which could assist former sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) achieve its goals.
Of the seven charges he was asked to enter his defence, Najib is accused of committing three counts of criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, and a separate charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.
For the remaining three charges, he is accused of laundering RM42 million.