Thursday 20 Jun 2024
By
main news image
“At that time, Shamsul was asking Jho Low what was the solution to the issue of money received in [Najib]’s account, which was said to be from Putrajaya Perdana and SRC. Shamsul said various parties have started asking about [Najib]’s account, where the money has been put into, and that it is said to be money from 1MDB.”

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 14): Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, former general counsel of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), said she witnessed Low Taek Jho or Jho Low draft one of the four “Arab donation” letters from Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to state that the money that went into his private accounts were donations from the kingdom.

Loo, the prosecution's star witness in the 1MDB-Tanore trial, told the High Court on Wednesday that she had seen Jho Low and his now deceased associate Kee Kok Thiam draft the letter in early 2015, after various parties started questioning the source of the billions that had landed in Najib’s private accounts.

Loo said she had gone to London in early 2015, and was summoned by Jho Low to meet him at the Mayfair Hotel there.

Upon her arrival at the hotel, she said she saw Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) managing director Datuk Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) project director Dennis See there with Jho Low and Kee.

Shamsul and See were both prosecution witnesses in Najib’s SRC International trial, in which Najib was found guilty of abuse of power and misappropriating over RM42 million from the former 1MDB subsidiary, for which he was sentenced to spend 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million. The Pardons Board, however, in a controversial move on Feb 2 this year, halved Najib's jail term and reduced his fine to RM50 million.

Loo, meanwhile, further testified that Shamsul had asked Jho Low about how he was going to handle the issue of the money that had been transferred to Najib’s private accounts from the accounts of IPSB and SRC International.

"At that time, Shamsul asked Jho Low what was the solution to the issue of money received in [Najib]'s account, which was said to be from Putrajaya Perdana [Bhd] (an entity under Jho Low-linked UGB Bhd) and SRC. Shamsul said various parties have started asking about [Najib]'s account, where the money has been put into, and that it is said to be money from 1MDB.

"After that, Jho Low ordered Kee Kok Thiam to prepare a confirmation letter from Prince Saud to state that the money put into [Najib]'s account was a donation from Saudi Arabia. After that, I went out for a while with Jho Low to discuss other matters. But when I re-entered the [venue] I saw Kee Kok Thiam preparing a draft of a donation letter from Prince Saud," Loo said, reading out her witness statement before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

She verified that the draft was to be a letter from Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud dated June 1, 2014 to Najib.

"I confirm that I have seen a draft of this letter on the screen computer at the Business Center at the Mayfair Hotel, London [the meeting venue] in early 2015. As previously explained, Kee Kok Thiam was preparing this document because he was instructed to do so by Jho Low after a discussion between Jho Low, Shamsul, Dennis See and Kee Kok Thiam himself at the Business Center.

“The letter prepared by Kee Kok Thiam at that time was related to the donation from Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud to [Najib]. The value of the donation at that point I am not sure. I saw at that time that the draft did not have a signature and was not sure when the letter was sent to [Najib]. Therefore, I believe the date written on this letter is backdated," she said.

She added that she had not seen any of the other Arab donation letters, nor does she have any knowledge of them.

There are a total of four Arab donation letters that are central to Najib’s defence in the trial.

Najib has maintained that the monies that ended up in his personal accounts were donations from the former governor of the Madinah Province, Saud Abdulaziz Majid Al Saud.

The four letters, which were previously produced in court, stated that the money was given to Najib, with no strings attached, in recognition of the former prime minister’s contribution to the Islamic world, and that there was no expectation for the money to be returned.

Najib received US$681 million, or over RM2 billion, over a period of four years from 2011 to 2014. He has also maintained that he had “returned” US$620 million to the donor through Tanore Finance Corp (Tanore), a company owned by another Jho Low associate, Eric Tan Kim Loong, who remains at large.

The Edge is covering the trial live here.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.

Edited ByTan Choe Choe
      Print
      Text Size
      Share