KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — A total of RM49 million originating from bank loans taken by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) wound up in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bank account in AmIslamic Bank, a former CEO of 1MDB confirmed in the High Court today.
Former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman confirmed this when the prosecution showed him a chart of the money trail or movement of funds originating from 1MDB.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram asked Hazem about the flow of money after 1MDB borrowed hundreds of millions of US dollars from Deutsche Bank, and how it had kept flowing from one entity to another in multiple transactions until parts of the funds reached an AmIslamic Bank account with the number “2112022011880”.
Sri Ram then asked Hazem if this was his account number, to which the latter replied “no”.
Sri Ram then showed an AmIslamic Bank bank account statement to Hazem, asking him to compare it to the chart of the money flows.
Hazem confirmed that the figures in both the chart and the bank account statement tallied, before then confirming that the bank account statement showed that Najib was the owner of the account which had received the funds.
Sri Ram: You said this is not your account. Look at the top of the page, it is the accused’s account?
Sri Ram: So based on this exhibit, do you confirm to His Lordship that the transactions that you put to the Energy and buyback options, based on this chart, a total of RM49 million went into the accused’s bank account?
Hazem: Correct, yes.
On the first day of the 1MDB trial in August 2019, Sri Ram had in the prosecution’s opening statement said that the prosecution would show that some money originating from a US$250 million loan and a US$975 million loan taken by 1MDB subsidiary 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd from Deutsche Bank Singapore had allegedly ended up in Najib’s bank account.
The prosecution had then said it would show that money equivalent to RM4,093,500 (and originating from the US$250 million loan) was transferred to Najib’s account in June 2014, and that money equivalent to RM45,837,485.70 (originating from the US$975 million loan) ended up in Najib’s account during the October 2014 to December 2014 period.
The prosecution, in its opening statement, previously said it would show that the funds totalling more than RM4 million and more than RM45 million were eventually transferred from companies controlled by Low Taek Jho’s alleged “shadow” and associate Eric Tan — namely Blackrock Commodities (Global) Ltd and Vista Equity International Partners Ltd (Barbados) respectively — into Najib’s bank account.
Confirming that it was previously suggested that Tan is a “proxy” of Low — better known as Jho Low, Hazem however said that he had never dealt with Tan.
Today, Sri Ram in re-examining Hazem as the 10th prosecution witness also asked about the nature of the relationship between Low and Najib.
Asked about a November 2013 meeting in Najib’s house that was also attended by Low, Hazem today said he observed the then prime minister and Low to be “very, very close” in terms of their relationship, while also confirming that Najib did not say or do anything to “dissociate” himself from Low during the meeting.
Hazem also said that he had followed Low’s instructions in terms of 1MDB affairs as he had considered Low to be equivalent to the prime minister.
Sri Ram then focused on the irregularities in payments that went out of 1MDB and asked: “My question to you is did one cent of that money go into your account?” Hazem then replied no.
Hazem similarly confirmed that he had not financially benefited in any way from any of those transactions.
Agreeing that everything in the various phases of the 1MDB matter — during which huge sums of funds were now known to have been allegedly siphoned out from 1MDB and 1MDB subsidiaries following various deals, fundraising exercises and transactions — moved with great speed, Hazem confirmed it was Low who gave instructions for such matters to proceed with such speed.
Sri Ram then asked: “Did you ever receive any instructions from the accused that you were not to follow any instructions from Jho Low?”
Hazem then replied no.
Hazem agreed that he had previously denied acting in conspiracy with Low and other individuals in relation to 1MDB, while also confirming that he did not receive any money from Low.
In this trial, Najib is facing 25 charges in relation to more than RM2 billion of funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.
The trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow, with 1MDB’s former chief financial officer Azmi Tahir expected to continue testifying as the 12th prosecution witness.