From the person who arranged meetings between Najib Razak with the Saudi Arabia ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud to who knew Jho Low first, the ex-Malaysian PM washed his hands of the 1MDB scandal in a calm, composed manner.
Not to mention the SRC International Sdn Bhd, which Najib explicitly said was not his creation, but that of a senior personality.
As for Jho Low, the fugitive and elusive businessman who is said to be the mastermind or as one of the masterminds behind the biggest global money-laundering scandal in history, Najib says the Terengganu Sultan knew him first.
Taking the stand—a first for an ex-Prime Minister in Malaysia— and reading his 243-page testimony at the High Court, Najib says the runaway financier Low Taek Jho was the one who arranged meetings with the Saudi Arabia ruler.
He said Low had told him King Abdullah admired Malaysia’s ability to practice moderation in Islam and equality between Muslims and non-Muslims.
This led to a series of visits by Najib to Riyadh and Jeddah to meet the King.
“According to Jho Low, King Abdullah wanted to confer me with the highest civilian honour in Saudi Arabia, which was the King Abdulaziz Order of Merit (1st Class),” Najib says.
Then came the idea of personal donations which the King wanted to grant Najib to support his leadership. Again, Jho Low was the rain man who made the connections for the money to come to Najib.
“From 2011 until 2014, I received a huge amount of money that I believed was a donation from King Abdullah as a sign of his support. Jho Low was the connection in the matter and I believed he arranged the donations for the Saudi royal family,” he says.
As proof, a stash of RM2.6 billion was found in his personal-private account in AmBank, and he received several letters about the donations.
But he did not give any specific figures for the donations, saying it could be between US$100 million and US$200 million.
Najib also believes that Low whom he says portrayed himself as someone who had influence in the Middle East, could assist in 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) investments in the Middle East.
“These countries have an excess of cash due to the increase in oil prices.
“I thought that the clout and relationships that Low had will help ease 1MDB’s investments and missions,” said Najib.
This is when he said he knew Low was a “close acquaintance” of the Sultan of Terengganu Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and his sister Tengku Datuk Rahimah Sultan Mahmud.
He said this was at the time that Terengganu Investment Agency Bhd (TIA) was formed and before TIA was taken over by the government headed by Najib and it was turned into 1MDB.
“I was made to understand that Low was chosen as an advisor to the chairman of the board of advisers to TIA, who was Tuanku Mizan himself (at that time),” he added.
He was told TIA was formed with a capital of RM1 billion and another RM6 billion was to come from the Terengganu state’s oil royalty and RM5 billion was to come from the issuing of Islamic Medium-Term Notes, that was to get Federal Government guarantee.
“But at the end, the state government and (Menteri Besar Terengganu Inc) did not agree to the terms of the IMTN, even though it has been issued.”
He also said the Federal government took over TIA to protect the Terengganu State Government and the then Malaysian King from embarrassment. -/TISG
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