Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Najib’s bid for documents relating to 1MDB case to be heard on May 31

Najib is on trial for four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

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Former prime minister Najib Razak’s bid to acquire 1MDB-related documents involving former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s family and US investment bank Goldman Sachs will be heard at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on May 31.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah set the date after deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam informed the court that the prosecution needs more time to reply to the discovery applications filed by Najib’s defence team.

“We received the cause papers on April 12 (on the second discovery application) and we need at least two weeks to reply to the applications,” Mustaffa said during mention of the case today.

Mustaffa also informed the court that a similar application related to Zeti’s family had been scheduled for hearing on May 20. He said the prosecution proposed that both applications be heard together on a later date.

Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah did not object to the prosecution’s request.

On March 24, Najib made a discovery application to compel the prosecution to produce several banking statements and other documents for his defence team, believed to be related to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low and Zeti’s family.

On April 5, Najib’s legal team filed a second discovery application seeking a confidential agreement signed between the government of Malaysia and Goldman Sachs, where it was reported that Goldman Sachs had reached an agreement with Malaysia to pay US$2.5 billion (RM10.4 billion) in cash and guarantee the return of US$1.4 billion (RM5.8 billion) from 1MDB assets seized around the world in exchange for Malaysia to drop criminal charges against the US investment bank.

In the affidavit affirmed by Najib relating to the second application, the Pekan MP claimed the disclosure of the Goldman Sachs settlement was crucial to his defence and his right to a fair trial.

“In light of such an arrangement between Goldman Sachs and the government, I am concerned that the settlement may contain a clause that requires the bank and its employees to cooperate with the prosecution and such cooperation would include its employees being called as the witness in the 1MDB trial.

“In such circumstances, I believe that such clause in the Goldman Sachs settlement agreement obliges and compels such witnesses to give evidence favourable to the prosecution and to suppress evidence favourable to my defence,” said Najib in his affidavit.

He also sought the transcripts or forensic reports from the phones of Tim Leissner, who is a former Goldman partner in Asia, as well as the data stored on Goldman Sachs’ server involving Leissner’s communications.

Najib, 68, is currently on trial for four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

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