Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen leaving the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex May 12, 2022. — Picture by Devan Manuel
KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Billions of ringgit belonging to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had entered into two bank accounts belonging to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak but he never disclosed this during meetings, a court witness confirmed today.
Former 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir today confirmed he personally never received a single sen from funds that were misappropriated or siphoned out of 1MDB, but instead agreed that the charts of money flows out of 1MDB entities and documents presented to him in court showed that 1MDB money had gone into Najib’s AmBank accounts.
Azmi said this while testifying as the 12th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial over the misappropriation of more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram showed several charts of how money belonging to 1MDB had gone through multiple entities before finally reaching two AmBank accounts, which Azmi confirmed were AmBank accounts identified on documents as being under Najib’s name.
The first chart of money flows that Sri Ram presented to Azmi had shown that US$5 million (around RM15 million at the time) originally from a 1MDB subsidiary was ultimately transferred into an AmPrivate banking account ending with 2009694 between October 30 and October 31, 2012, and that slightly over RM75 million originally from another 1MBD subsidiary was transferred into this same account between November 19 and November 20, 2012.
Azmi confirmed that this AmBank account was not his, but confirmed from another document that this account number was under Najib’s name.
Sri Ram: All these monies belong to 1MDB as you can see. You can confirm, looking at the documents, who received these monies?
Azmi: It says here the account belongs to Datuk Seri Najib.
Sri Ram: Were you at any time aware he was siphoning monies like this?
Sri Ram: Monies belonging to 1MDB, you were not aware?
Azmi: No, I was not aware.
Sri Ram then went on to show yet another chart of money flows from another 1MDB subsidiary where about US$680 million or equivalent to over RM2.081 billion had gone through a series of transactions before ending up at the same AmBank account ending 2009694 via nine transactions between March 21 and April 10, 2013.
Azmi again confirmed that he could see the beneficial owner of this account was Najib.
When Sri Ram again asked if Azmi was aware that Najib had allegedly siphoned these monies, Najib’s lawyer Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh objected to say this question would not be fair when asked at this stage of the witness’s testimony.
Sri Ram then asked if Azmi was aware that Najib had received these monies, and Azmi answered, “No, I’m not.”
Azmi also confirmed that Najib never disclosed at any of the meetings that he had received these funds.
Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex February 18, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Sri Ram showed that a US$250 million bank loan that a 1MDB subsidiary had taken in 2014 had eventually resulted in over RM4.093 million of such borrowed funds going into an AmPrivate Banking AmIslamic bank account with the number ending 1880.
Sri Ram also showed how a US$975 million bank loan that 1MDB had taken had ended up with the money flowing through different entities, before some of these borrowed funds amounting to about RM45 million had all went in 2014 through four transactions to the same bank account with the number ending 1880.
Confirming that a bank statement shows this bank account ending 1880 as also belonging to Najib, Azmi again said he was not aware that this money had been received by Najib.
Sri Ram then asked: “At any of your meetings with him, either as part of the management or as part of the board or any board meetings or any meetings you had with him, did he disclose that he had received these monies?”
Azmi replied: “No, never.”
MORE TO COME