August 06, 2019

Jho Low Acted for Najib to Ensure His Checks Clear: 1MDB Update
(Bloomberg) -- The trial of former Malaysian leader Najib Razak sheds light on 1MDB’s beginning while revealing his early links to fugitive financier Jho Low.A Kuala Lumpur court heard dozens of witness testimonies related to the 42 million ringgit ($10 million) found in Najib’s personal accounts which allegedly came from SRC International Sdn., once a unit of the troubled state fund. Lawyers for Najib, who has pleaded not guilty, argued that he was misled by others. The current trial revolves around seven of the total 42 charges that Najib faces for his alleged role in 1MDB.Key DevelopmentsNajib’s next trial remains set to begin Aug. 19 despite appeals by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to delay it until after the current proceeding is completedAhmad Husni Hanadzlah, who served as second finance minister under Najib from 2009 to 2016, is the current witness on the standSeparately, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s 1MDB hearing was pushed back to Sept. 30 as the process of filing the charges was incompleteJho Low acted on Najib’s behalf to ensure checks clear (Aug. 6)Former AmBank officer Joanna Yu detailed her communication with Low, who contacted her on behalf of Najib to make sure checks issued by the former premier wouldn’t bounce. Yu said on the witness stand that Low made her ensure the accounts had enough funds to clear checks that Najib later issued, showing that Low acted to assist Najib and not as a rogue agent.Yu said it isn’t possible for the funds to be used without Najib’s knowledge, and said she has no suspicion that any of the checks were forged. Low, who remains at large, has denied any wrongdoing.Former Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, who served under Najib, then took the witness stand. He testified that Najib said the 2 billion ringgit loan from state pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan Diperbadankan to SRC was to fund supply of coal from Indonesia for Malaysia’s energy supply. Ahmad Husni was shown no documentation on the coal supply, and Najib prevented him from visiting Switzerland to check on SRC funds that were frozen at BSI Bank Ltd. He said he wasn’t involved in the formation of 1MDB and was only told after the fact.As second finance minister, Ahmad Husni had rallied in support of Najib, who was then premier and also finance minister. He later stepped down from the cabinet and began questioning 1MDB transactions in parliament.Further ReadingWitness Says Najib’s Note Shows He Knew Fund Source: 1MDB UpdateHow Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal Shook the Financial World: QuickTakeThe Long List of Charges Against Najib as 1MDB Trial Kicks OffTo contact the reporter on this story: Hadi Azmi in Kuala Lumpur at klnews@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Yudith Ho at yho35@bloomberg.net, Anisah ShukryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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