A key witness in the 1MDB-Tanore trial involving Najib Razak confirmed that the latter had received RM45 million from a company linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, in what could be a turning point in the case involving some RM2.3 billion in the former prime minister’s private bank accounts.
Former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, during re-examination by senior prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram yesterday, said money from Vista Equity International Partners Ltd (Barbados), was transferred to Najib’s AmIslamic bank account in five transactions between October and December 2014.
Hazem said Najib received a further RM4.1 million in June of the same year from Blackrock Commodities (Global) Ltd, bringing the total received to RM49 million.
Both Vista Equity and Blackrock Commodities are companies owned and controlled by Eric Tan, a trusted associate of Low who is also known as Jho Low.
The RM49 million was part of bank loans taken by 1MDB from Deutsche Bank, secured by guarantees provided by 1MDB Energy and 1MDB Langat.
The sum is part of the 25 charges in which Najib is accused of receiving RM2.3 billion originating from 1MDB through Tanore Finance Corp, a company owned by Tan.
Sri Ram in his opening statement of the trial two years ago claimed that an “elaborate charade” was employed by several characters in the 1MDB scandal, with the ultimate aim of enriching Najib.
The prosecution had set to prove that sham documents were produced to show that the monies received by Najib were a donation from a Saudi prince, including cheques which were never cashed out.
“He took active steps to effect a cover-up of his criminal acts,” Sri Ram had said.
The trial presided over by High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today with former 1MD chief financial officer Azmi Tahir taking the stand.