A US political lobbyist has detailed his efforts in 2017 to get the Donald Trump administration to stop a federal investigation into the 1MDB scandal, including a failed bid to arrange a round of golf between the then US president and jailed former prime minister Najib Razak.
Elliott Broidy, who is a prosecution witness in the money laundering trial of hip hop star Prakazrel "Pras" Michél, an associate of fugitive Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, said he was hired to convince top US officials that the Department of Justice's (DoJ) pursuit of those involved in the scandal would be detrimental to bilateral ties.
Broidy told the court earlier this month that he also met Low in Thailand in 2017, a year after the DoJ filed lawsuits to seize properties tied to 1MDB after investigators uncovered the misappropriation of some US$4.5 billion from the Malaysian state company.
The Washington Post quoted him as telling the court that he was paid a retainer fee of US$8 million and a US$1 million "appearance fee" for travelling to Thailand to secretly meet Low, adding that he could have earned US$75 million if his efforts had succeeded.
In 2017, Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser, was named as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee following Trump's election victory.
He quit the position the following year in the wake of revelations that he had paid a former Playboy model US$1.6 million in return for her silence about a sexual affair.
In 2020, he pleaded guilty to illegal lobbying, but was later given a presidential pardon by Trump.
He then struck a deal with the FBI to cooperate with the DoJ in cases involving Low and his associates.
Najib, who eventually met Trump in September 2017 at the height of the storm created by the 1MDB scandal, is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence over the SRC International case involving the misappropriation of RM42 million.