Asia Malaysia Najib did not stop Jho Low and had an interest in a RM18b 1MDB...

Najib did not stop Jho Low and had an interest in a RM18b 1MDB deal

1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the court that the fact that Najib did not counter Jho Low on 1MDB decisions made him believe the latter had the prime minister’s mandate to convey instructions to 1MDB's management staff

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Najib Razak, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, did not contradict or revoke any decisions made by alleged 1MDB mastermind Jho Low and he had an interest in a RM18 billion joint-venture agreement with a subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Co, Aabar Investment PJS.

This was revealed to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur by another key prosecution witness in Najib’s 1MDB trial, former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Halmi told the court that the fact that Najib did not counter Jho Low on 1MDB decisions made him believe the latter had the prime minister’s mandate to convey instructions to 1MDB’s management staff.

He said Low did not have any official authority within the sovereign wealth fund but facilitated what would eventually become a joint venture between 1MDB and Aabar Investments PJS over the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) in 2012.

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Shahrol, 49, said Najib’s presence at the signing of the bilateral agreement on March 12, 2013, held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya, showed that the former prime minister had an “interest” and the joint venture was Najib’s “baby”.

“Datuk Seri Najib’s action was according to the plans of the fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, as all the planning up until the successful signing of the joint venture agreement was done by Jho Low.

“This based (sic) on information on a ‘action plan’ and Jho Low’s discussions with me and Jasmine Loo (1MDB’s lawyer) in making the event a success, ” the witness said. He was reading from his 270-page witness statement on the 16th day of Najib’s 1MDB trial.

“The signing ceremony was witnessed by Datuk Seri Najib and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi who was also Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al Nahyan, held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Putrajaya and handled by officials led by Datuk Azlin Alias (Najib’s principal private secretary).

He also said he confirms this was Najib’s major mandate to ensure that the joint venture between Abu Dhabi and Malaysia was signed via 1MDB and Aabar Investment PJS.

Shahrol said Najib’s active involvement in this matter as well as his directives and mandate convinced him to carry out this venture as all the plans were through Jho Low, an important person that Datuk Seri Najib had put in place, to outline his strategies including the joint venture.

He told the court the former premier and finance minister’s actions “tallied perfectly” with talking points prepared by Low.

“You said you believed that Low was mandated by Najib. What are the reasons you had that belief?” the prosecution asked Shahrol.

He replied it is because at this point in time, “I had observed the actions and talking points that originated from Low were fulfilled by the actions of Najib.”

“Datuk Seri Najib’s action was in line with Jho Low’s plan and followed the pattern of cooperation that he (Najib) had determined, ” he said. -/TISG

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