Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Jho Low told Najib ‘not to speak too much’ with audit firm on 1MDB, court hears

Former 1MDB CFO says Jho Low arranged all the documentation and talking points for Najib to answer questions raised by KPMG.

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The High Court was today told that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, had instructed Najib Razak “not to speak too much” on 1MDB to audit firm KPMG Malaysia as a strategy before the meeting with the firm.

Former 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir, when disclosing the matter, said the instruction was made through an email titled “Urgent: Briefing Package for YAB PM”, which he sent to the former prime minister and 1MDB representatives, himself included, before the meeting, which was held on Dec 15, 2013, at Najib’s residence.

“In the email, Jho Low instructed Najib not to speak too much with KPMG and it must be said that Najib had been briefed, that he knew about all the investments and transactions in 1MDB, and (that he was) confident with the existing documents.

“Jho Low also instructed Najib to express his confidence in BSI Bank based on the facts provided,” he said when reading his 127-page witness statement at Najib’s corruption and money laundering trial involving RM2.3 million belonging to 1MDB.

He told the court that the meeting was held because KPMG wanted to know Najib’s knowledge of 1MDB’s US$2.3 billion abroad, especially the investment by Brazen Sky Limited, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established on July 12, 2012 to repatriate investment monies by 1MDB.

On the meeting held at Najib’s house on the night of Dec 15, 2013, Azmi, who is the 12th prosecution witness, said he found that Najib had also received the same email from Jho Low and that he (Najib) had discussed matters outlined by Jho Low in the email with KPMG representative Johan Idris.

He said there were also other KPMG representatives who wanted to attend the meeting, but that Najib did not allow them to enter his house.

During the meeting, Johan had asked Najib about the investment in Bridge Global Absolute Return Fund SPC and Najib replied that he knew about Brazen Sky Limited’s investment in Bridge Global Absolute Return Fund SPC.

“At the meeting, Najib also questioned KPMG for still raising suspicion on the ‘underlying assets’ of the investment when BSI Bank itself had shown the investment statement.

“Najib also told KPMG to close the 1MDB account before Dec 31, 2013,”he said, adding that after the meeting, KPMG still did not close the 2013 financial report because it was not satisfied with the answers given.

Azmi said that at the end of 2013, 1MDB terminated KPMG’s contract and that it was replaced by audit firm Deloitte.

Azmi said although he was the CFO in 1MDB, where the audit came under his jurisdiction, it was Jho Low who had arranged all the documentation and talking points for Najib to answer questions raised by KPMG.

Najib, 68, is facing four charges, namely using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.

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