This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 28, 2022 - April 3, 2022
FUGITIVE financier Low Taek Jho was orchestrating transactions behind the scenes in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), instructing subordinates to blind carbon copy (Bcc) him on emails sent to the state-owned strategic investment company, witness testimony in a US court last week revealed.
In the trial of former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa, email exchanges among those in Low’s inner circle, which included the banker and a few others, were shown to the jury last week.
A prosecution witness, FBI agent Ryan Collins, was asked to verify certain emails.
These included an email exchange in September 2009 between Ng and Low discussing a joint venture between Petrosaudi and 1MDB, in which the former asked for instructions and permission from the latter to get the deal started and to “run this out of Asia”.
“Let me know if I can run conflicts internally to get started. Want (to) run this out of Asia for better control for all.”
Even when it came to choosing signatories for 1MDB’s bank accounts, Low made the final decisions.
In an email exchange between Low and 1MDB director of finance Terence Geh Choh Heng, the latter appeared to suggest two groups of signatories for 1MDB Energy Langat Ltd’s account in Falcon Bank (Hong Kong).
This account was used to transfer US$790 million to Aabar Investment PJS Ltd’s BSI Bank Lugano account. The payment was made after 1MDB raised US$1.75 billion in a bond issuance in 2012 to finance the acquisition of Genting Sanyen Power Sdn Bhd.
Geh’s suggestion of Vincent Koh (1MDB chief investment officer at the time) and another unnamed person for the signatories in “Group A” while he and 1MDB former general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan would be the signatories in “Group B” was vetoed by Low, who instructed that the order be changed to Jasmine and the unnamed person in Group A, and Geh and Koh in Group B.
Collins was then shown Falcon Bank signatory documents reflecting Low’s preferred order.
In another email exchange, Low instructed Ng to blind carbon copy him on all correspondence with 1MDB.
The email in question was in October 2009, between Ng, Low and former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi concerning a bond issuance by the company.
In the email, Low reminded: “When e-mailing the 1MDB guys, please Bcc me.”
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