Seen as the master craftsman behind the scandal, the ex-PM has denied all the allegations against him.
He pleaded not guilty to the accusations laid against him, saying he is squeaky clean and innocent, adding that it is possible he is the victim of a massive plot by the then Opposition Pakatan Harapan against him.
After he lost power and was first indicted for the 1MDB crimes committed under his rule, he claimed he and his wife were victims of a trial-by-the-media campaign.
According to Najib Razak, there is no 1MDB scandal, he did not lose the money or got them transferred to fake accounts via a well-crafted plan.
Najib’s denial is well documented. But it is also supported by comments from the co-writer of The Billion Dollar Whale, Tom Wright.
Wright said in an interview to Coconuts he is sure Najib is aware 1MDB was used as a political slush fund.
But he said Najib believed the benefits his family and the Umno party were enjoying from the funds was part of him being PM.
Hence as PM, it is normal for his family to enjoy from his position. It is also, according to Najib’s theories, that his party also enjoys from the funds.
Thus, we should not ask questions on how he got the money, or how it where did the money go?
Scandalous or not, it was not a matter for consideration, according to multiple other reports on how Najib saw the 1MDB funds being disbursed all along.
“I’m sure he (Najib) knew it was a political slush fund, that they were getting hundreds of millions of dollars for (former ruling political party) Umno, and that his family was getting mansions and running film companies and all this kind of thing, which he may have just seen as a benefit of being prime minister,” said Wright.
The Wall Street Journal journalist also said this was terribly corrupt.
“But did Najib know that Jho Low had run the fund in a way that took out US$4.5bil, US$5bil, maybe US$6bil dollars? I don’t think so,” he said.
What does that mean?
To the layman, Najib was behind the 1MDB scandal that brought the entire Barisan Nasional empire to ruin. To his supporters, this is not the case and Wright may have given them reasons to believe in their hero’s innocence.
Wright’s assertions that Najib did not know that Jho Low stole the money is probably the theory that Najib is going to use in his defence.
He will use his apparent ‘ignorance’ of the crime committed by Jho Low to try to save himself. But will he bury Jho Low in the process?
Yet the local prosecutors have more ammunition in their case against Najib.
Nevertheless, while it appears Najib may never be found guilty for the billions in funds lost from the 1MDB scandal, his protection of the elusive witness Jho Low will not help him altogether.
Whether Najib knows where Jho Low is and whether they are in secret communications does not really matter now, say observers.
They believe Najib is in for a long haul in jail, given the evidence of wrongdoing in the SRC International funds, and the still unexplained RM2.6 billion found in his very private ‘Islamic’ banking account.
It is also clear the prosecutors have dismissed Najib’s claims the source of the RM2.6 billion is the Saudi Arabian king.
He may not be able to show any concrete and acceptable evidence the money is from Saudi Arabia. The reason is the notes – or letters said to be from the Saudi King or from the King’s henchmen – did not tally.
The amount he might have received from Saudi Arabia does not match the one time RM2.6 billion found stashed in his account.
With the new year around the corner, Malaysia will be buzzing once again in early 2019 with Najib’s, Rosmah Mansor’s and the whole 1MDB-SRC cases.
Najib’s insistence that he should be given respect, there should be decorum and he should not be standing in the accused box, will trigger more media attention in these cases.
Malaysia, they say, has not seen the end of court scandals which started way back in history with the likes of Anwar Ibrahim and even further in history, there is the case of Datuk Seri Harun bin Haji Idris, the former Menteri Besar of Selangor.
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