SRC trial: I asked Rosmah to purchase Swiss jeweller's gift to wife of ex-Qatar PM in 2014, says Najib

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is currently on trial for siphoning RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd and is testifying in his own defence. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is currently on trial for siphoning RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd and is testifying in his own defence. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was the person responsible for the purchase of a luxurious gift for the wife of a former Qatar prime minister at a Swiss luxury jeweller De Grisogono in August 2014, Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the High Court today.

Najib, who is currently on trial for siphoning RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd and is testifying in his own defence, said this during cross-examination by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram.

Sithambaram: If you look at the statement for month September 2014, this gift was bought in a shop name De Grisogono, Italy.

Najib: Yep, that's true.

Sithambaram: If you look at statement you would find the item seems to be broken up, is that the item you bought?

Najib: I believe so. I paid for it with my credit card. But I asked my wife to buy.

Earlier when asked of the nature and worth of the gift, Najib said it was for a piece of jewellery worth €763,500 or equivalent to RM3,364,670.65 to be gifted to one named Noor Abdulaziz Abdulla Turki Al-Subaie who was the spouse of Sheikh Ahmed Jassim Al Thani.

Later when questioned by Sithambaram over his remark on the purchase were for a single piece of jewellery despite the statement having listed 10 items, Najib said he needed to check with Rosmah.

Sithambaram: There are numerous items, in fact (starts counting) the number of item purchases is 10 items, so I need Datuk Seri to explain if a single gift for €763,500 which was equivalent to your statement about RM3.3 million?

Najib: It looks like a set of 10 items. I have to check with my wife. She did the purchase.

Sithambaram: I am not asking Datuk Seri to confirm the nature of gift. The item reflected is 10 items, you confirm that sir?

Najib: I cannot confirm that but there are 10 diff items listed here.

Sithambaram then asked if Najib was aware that his combine limit for his credit cards was RM3 million despite having purchased around RM3.3 million to which Najib said he could not recall if some transactions were declined as his purchase exceeded the stipulated limit.

Najib was also grilled on his meeting with Sheikh Ahmad and his spouse at the Italian island of Sardinia around the same time the gifts were purchased.

Sithambaram: Datuk Seri, it is your evidence that you had coincidentally or by pure chance met with Sheikh Ahmad and his wife at Sardinia?

Najib: I knew he was going to be there because there was some conversation with him.

Sithambaram: Not that you bump into?

Najib: No no, I have a sense he was there. We always wanted to meet each other.

When asked if he had personally handed over the gift, Najib said it could have been a protocol officer who handed the gift over to the Qatari couple, which he said was normal practice.

The Pekan MP was both the prime minister and finance minister when he made the purchases on August 8, 2014.

Letter of gratitude from former Qatari PM's wife

Sithambaram then produced an acknowledgement letter from Noor Abdulaziz addressed to Rosmah which thanked the latter for the jewellery purchases to be shown to Najib that was previously tendered in court.

Najib, however, disagreed when suggested that the said letter was an afterthought in order to justify the RM3.3 million expenditure of his credit card.

Sithambaram: Am I correct to say or are you calling anyone that this gift was indeed given to Sheikh Ahmad's wife to your knowledge?

Najib: I am trying to get the original copy.

Sithambaram: I am asking whether you are calling anyone.

Najib: We'll look into it.

Sithambaram: I'm putting it to you, Datuk Seri, that there was no gift of this sum to the wife of PM of Qatar.

Najib: Disagree.

Sithambaram: I'm putting it to you this letter was produced after to explain the expense of RM3.3 million.

Najib: I disagree.

Previously, credit card statements tendered in court revealed that the payments were done by way of two Visa and eight MasterCard transactions for amounts ranging from €3,500 (RM15,432.50) to €100,000 (RM440,928.71).

Najib has been called to enter his defence to answer seven charges related to SRC International.

Three are for 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, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.

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