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Najib’s trial: 1MDB predecessor name-dropped LV boss, Bono, Jordan’s Queen Rania

September 18, 2019

* Najib Trial – Day 9: More revelations expected in defence’s cross-examination of Amhari
* Long Story Short … Najib is Fucked
* Najib Trial – Day 8: TIA take over by gov’t and 1MDB as new name: ‘Shahrol’s suggestion’  

Former prime minister Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex, September 17, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — The Terengganu Investment Authority had issued a letter purporting that international luminaries would be its advisers in an attempt to burnish its credentials, the High Court heard today in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial.

Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, read out a May 4, 2009 letter from the fund, which eventually became 1MDB, to Najib when he had still been the prime minister and finance minister.

In the letter that was read out in court today, TIA had said it would be professionally managed, with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong — the Terengganu ruler Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, at the time — be chairman of its board of advisers.

Shafee noted that TIA had listed several personalities aside from Najib who would be advisers, and included luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault.

Shafee said TIA had listed others on its board of advisers as allegedly being then Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala’s CEO Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, The Walt Disney Company’s former CEO Michael Eisner and US firm General Electric’s then CEO Jeffrey Immelt.

Another famous personality mentioned in TIA’s list was Kuwait’s then deputy prime minister and then foreign minister Sheikh Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah or with oil and gas firm ExxonMobil former CEO Lee Raymond as an alternate name.

Shafee noted however TIA said a few of these purported advisers such as Al-Sabah, Eisner and Immelt had to be confirmed.

Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin (centre) is the eighth prosecution witness in Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial involving 25 criminal charges: four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

When the names were read out, Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin confirmed recalling that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low mentioned some of them during covert meetings in a hotel with him and his immediate supervisor, the late Datuk Azlin Alias.

Only recollection of them is when Jho Low provided names, in one of the notes, one of the meetings in Prince Hotel,” Amhari told the court when cross-examined by Shafee.

Amhari said he was unsure if any of these individuals were eventually appointed to TIA’s board of advisers.

I can only remember Bernard Arnault, but I did not ask further. Not sure about Sabah, others,” he said when asked if he had tried asking Low about these advisers.

Because of the brand that he carries and he (Low) mentioned, there was discussion with Datuk Azlin talking about Bernard Arnault coming to Malaysia,” he said when explaining why he remembered Arnault’s name as having been mentioned by Low.

Shafee suggested that Low — who was appointed as a TIA adviser in April 2009 — had bandied these names about.

Shafee: These names were thrown in by Jho Low to impress authorities of Terengganu and federal government that he is able to do it, when in reality that would not happen.

Amhari: I don’t know.

Shafee: In reality, most of these personalities do not even know their names have been quoted.

Amhari: I don’t know.

Shafee later pressed Amhari on whether he had thought the use of the famous personalities’ names pointed to a con job.

Shafee : Did it cross your mind what has LV got to do with TIA?

Amhari: It didn’t cross my mind.

Shafee: It didn’t cross your mind that this is a setup for another con job?

Amhari: No.

Shafee then noted that TIA had claimed the TIA Foundation’s board of trustees would be chaired by the Terengganu Sultan, with Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor also named as a trustee.

TIA’s letter had also purported the board of trustees for the TIA Foundation would include Queen Rania of Jordan and Bono, the lead singer of the band U2 and a world-renowned philanthropist.

Noting that Bono was among four trustees that TIA said would be confirmed, Shafee then remarked on the name list: “What has that got to do with board of trustees of TIA? These are tell-tale signs of what is going to come, it’s a scam. You don’t recall this?”

Amhari replied that he did not recall the list, which he said he had not seen before.

Shafee today showed Amhari multiple documents in court in a bid to counter the latter’s belief that 1MDB was Najib’s “baby”, but Amhari said he had never seen many of these documents.

Amhari is the eighth prosecution witness in Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial involving 25 criminal charges: four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.

Najib’s trial resumes tomorrow morning before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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