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Najib's account 'sensitive' as he was a politically exposed person, bank officer tells court

Yap Wai Keat says the caution was also due to the large amount of money being transacted into Najib's account.

2 minute read
Former prime minister Najib Razak.
Former prime minister Najib Razak.

An AmBank officer told the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday that he had to be careful in handling Najib Razak’s personal bank account as it was deemed a sensitive account belonging to a politically exposed person.

AmBank Private Banking Capital Market head Yap Wai Keat, 57, said it was also because a large amount of money was being remitted via two transactions to the former prime minister's personal bank account with the code name AmPrivate Banking-MR in 2011.

"At that point of time, Najib was our prime minister and there was a large amount of money being transacted.

"If the currency market actually knew, in terms of the amount, it (currency market) would have taken a position ahead and it would affect the ringgit value," he said during cross-examination by Najib’s counsel Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed at Najib’s trial on the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion from 1MDB.

Yesterday, the 38th prosecution witness testified that he was tasked with executing the conversion of the money, from US dollars to ringgit, remitted by a Saudi prince, Prince Faisal Bin Turki Bin Bandar Al Saud, on Feb 2 and June 14, 2011.

Referring to the two Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) documents, Yap said US$9,999,977 was converted to RM30,449,929.97 on Feb 24, 2011, and another US$9,999,970 was converted to RM30,179,909.46 on June 14, 2011.

Wan Aizuddin then asked him whether the currency market would be affected if the beneficiary was not Najib and the amount of money coming in was only US$10 million, which the witness answered in the negative.

"No, the market would not be affected because US$10 million is not much as compared to the amount coming into Najib’s account. 

"You have to be careful because the amount (of money) was much larger, that’s why I think Najib’s relationship manager (AmBank officer Joanna Yu) created the code name AmPrivate Banking-MR for him," Yap said.

Najib, 69, faces 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.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Oct 3.