Wednesday, January 20, 2021

1MDB Trial: Former CEO claims not aware of DoJ $700m lawsuit against Jho Low

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Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said he was “turned off” with the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) civil forfeiture lawsuit accusing him of being involved in the transfer of US$700 million to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho’s company.

Shahrol told the High Court in Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial that US authorities had never sought clarification from him about the transfer to Good Star Limited, said to be owned by PetroSaudi International (PSI).

“I scanned through the report and it did not have complete information,” he said when questioned by Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on whether he had read DoJ’s 2017 lawsuit.

DoJ had sought to forfeit various properties, artwork, jewellery as well as rights to two Hollywood movies over claims that they were linked to stolen 1MDB money.

Shahrol said that in the lawsuit, he was named as “1MDB Officer 2” while former 1MDB executive director Tang Keng Chee or Casey was known as “1MDB Officer 1”.

“I was only shown the money trail and documentary evidence of the US$700 million to Good Star during the authorities’ investigation in 2018,” he said, adding that Low and Tang had misled him with a sham document that said Good Star is PSI’s subsidiary.

Questioned if he knew Jho Low’s associate Seet Li Lin who signed a purported agreement on behalf of Good Star and 1MDB for the US$700 million transfer, Shahrol said he did not.

Singaporean Seet, Jho Low’s classmate in Wharton Business School, was reported to have worked in the latter’s company, Jynwel Capital, from November 2012 to April 2017.

Shahrol also told the court he would have resigned in 2009 had he known that US$700 million would be transferred to Good Star.

Shafee: If you can go back in time and be the CEO all over again, would you check on Casey, Seet Li Lin and Jho Low?

Shahrol: I would resign on the spot if we say hypothetically we could go back. I still believed 1MDB was a strategic vehicle for Datuk Seri (Najib) and I wanted to serve him well.

Hearing continues before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Najib is standing trial for 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited in his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.

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