KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 ― Datuk Seri Najib Razak today admitted in court that he was occasionally in contact with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho over the operations of his bank accounts such as personal credit card transactions and cheque issuance.
Under cross-examination by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram in his trial for siphoning RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd, Najib conceded that Low was in contact with him on “very few” occasions as most of the time it would be done through his former private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias.
Najib affirmed this after Sithambaram suggested to him that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chats between Low and former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping in 2014 clearly showed the financier was making sure Najib's cheques and credit cards transactions were honoured.
Sithambaram: I put it to you that the BBM chats would show that Jho Low was in some instances in contact with you to ensure the cheques and credit cards were honoured.
Najib: Basically through through Azlin. Not directly but through Azlin.
Sithambaram: But Jho Low did liaise with you.
Najib: Yes. On very few occasions. Very few.
Earlier, Najib was shown BBM chats between Low and Yu in August 2014 which depicted both of them discussing jewelry purchases by Najib amounting to some RM3.3 million made in Swiss luxury jeweller De Grisogono, Italy.
Sithambaram: The purchase of jewellery...do you agree that the transaction and this (chats) depict what happened [on the purchase in Italy]?
Sithambaram: It is clear that Jho low was making sure all transactions were honoured, correct sir?
Sithambaram also cited another 2014 chat where Low told Yu that he received a message from “MNR” on a transaction the former prime minister wanted to make while he was in Honolulu, Hawaii which did not go through.
Najib previously testified that a US$130,625 (RM466,330) purchase he made at a Chanel store in Hawaii was a birthday gift for his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to placate her as he had to cut their family vacation short to return home and visit victims of the east coast floods in Kelantan then.
Sithambaram: From these transactions, Jho Low verified the accounts with bank for the purpose of ensuring sufficient funds for you to use your credit card and issued cheques?
Later when asked if Low had also kept in contact with him on his personal bank account balances, Najib said it was done through Azlin despite Sithambaram pointing out to him that the BBM chats showed othewise.
Sithambaram: Jho Low kept in contact with you on the account balance?
Najib: I was informed through Azlin.
Sithambaram: But BBM chats showed you were kept informed.
Najib: I disagree.
Sithambaram: I am putting it to you, you have actual knowledge of the status of the account at all time.
Najib: I disagree.
Previously Najib told the court he was kept abreast of his account by his Azlin with information he believed was obtained from Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, whom Najib had appointed as mandate holder.
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.