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Jho Low never cooked pasta for my family, Zeti tells court

'Ridiculous and preposterous, it never happened', the former Bank Negara governor testifies.

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Former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz at the Kuala Lumpur court compex today, Aug 15.
Former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz at the Kuala Lumpur court compex today, Aug 15.

Former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz today told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low never visited her and cooked pasta for her family at her residence in Bukit Tunku.

The 76-year-old witness said this when asked by Najib Razak's lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at the former prime minister's trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds.

Shafee: When you were the BNM governor, where was your residence?

Zeti: At Bukit Tunku, Jalan Tunku Puteri.

Shafee: That was not very far from Najib's house.

Zeti: Yes.

To Shafee's suggestion that Jho Low was in the habit of coming to her house on weekends to cook pasta for her family, Zeti disagreed, saying that it was "ridiculous and preposterous, it never happened".

The 46th prosecution witness also denied that Jho Low was close with her family through her husband Tawfiq Ayman as the duo were business partners.

She also said that she never received any expensive gift from Jho Low in her entire life.

Shafee: There was an occasion when you met the PM (Najib) and you said that Jho Low was very fond of giving you expensive presents and that you said "I accepted them, but I have returned them since".

Zeti: I never received any gifts from anybody, including Jho Low.

Shafee: Did you say this to the PM (Najib)?

Zeti: I don't recall any discussion relating to gifts.

Shafee: Did you recall the discussion about Jho Low with Najib?

Zeti: I don't recall.

Meanwhile, Zeti also denied the allegation made by former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner during Roger Ng's 1MDB trial in the New York court, where Leissner alleged that Zeti's husband Tawfiq had received bribes so that the US$1 billion meant for the 1MDB-Petrosaudi joint venture was able to leave the country without BNM's approval.

Shafee, when reading the New York court's transcript of Ng's trial, said Leissner testified that BNM had to approve US$1 billion leaving Malaysia because, in 2009, Malaysia still had capital controls in place.

"The US$1 billion was wired overnight out of Malaysia (to the JV company account overseas), and it had been done because the husband of the then governor Zeti at BNM had received a bribe to make that happen.

"Overnight, that money was transferred, which was unprecedented at that time. No approval was obtained that quickly with BNM," claimed Leissner.

Shafee: Tan Sri, you must have heard about this.

Zeti: He (Tawfiq) said he never received any bribe in his whole life. He made reference to the fact that he had never met these two people (Ng and Leissner).

Shafee: Did BNM or you make any statements to refute this?

Zeti: We didn't because we were told it would affect the case (Ng's trial).

However, Zeti said her husband made a statement regarding the allegation because it was personal to him.

Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3 billion belonging to 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.