KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 -- The High Court in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial again heard about the joint venture (JV) deal between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI).
Among others, the court was told that the PSI chief executive officer (CEO), Tarek Obaid had received US$85 million in commission as a result of the company's joint venture deal with 1MDB.
1MDB former chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, who was the ninth prosecution witness and one of its key witnesses, said a company, Good Star Ltd, allegedly owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, had paid US$85 million to Tarek, who was also PSI co-founder.
The former prime minister, 66, is facing four charges of having used his position to obtain gratification totaling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same funds.
Najib, who is also Pekan MP allegedly committed the four offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Jalan Raja Chulan branch, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011, and Dec 19, 2014, and the 21 charges, at the same place between March 22, 2013, and Aug 30, 2013.
The following is a recap of the witness testimonies before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah:
DAY 27 (Oct 29):
- Shahrol Azral told the High Court that 1MDB was a strategic vehicle for Najib and as an employee, he wanted to serve him well.
- He however, testified that he would resign from his post on the spot, should he be given the chance to be 1MDB CEO again.
- Under cross-examination by lead counsel for the defence, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the witness said that if he had known the numerous lies of Jho Low and 1MDB executive director, Casey Tang, he would have voluntarily left his post.
- The High Court also heard that the 1MDB board of directors (BOD) was not informed about the decision to split the US$1 billion meant for 1MDB-PSI joint venture into US$300 million and US$700 million, with the bigger portion eventually going to Good Star Ltd.
Previously, the court heard that US$700 million was diverted into the account of Good Star Ltd, a company that was initially represented as a PSI subsidiary but was revealed to be controlled by Jho Low.
- Shahrol Azral said the BOD’s consent was not obtained before the split due to time constraints and the 'need to get things done'.
- The witness also said Najib had advised the BOD of 1MDB that there was no need for a second valuation of the PSI assets in its joint venture with 1MDB.
- Shahrol Azral said he met Najib, who was the chairperson of 1MDB board of advisers, on Oct 16, 2009, to seek his advice on behalf of the board of directors.
- Asked by the lawyer on why the details about PSI's assets had been concealed from the BOD, the witness replied, “It just did not come up".
- Muhammad Shafee: So what does this mean That there was no second valuation
Shahrol Azral: It means a second valuation was not preferred. My take from this sentence was that Najib did not prefer this.
- The witness also testified that perhaps it was his mistake to have 'listened' to Najib in matters relating to the sovereign wealth fund.
DAY 28 (Oct 30):
- The High Court was told that CEO of PSI, Tarek Obaid had received US$85 million in commission as a result of the company's joint venture (JV) deal with 1MDB.
- Shahrol Azral said the company, Good Star Ltd, allegedly owned by Jho Low, had paid US$85 million to Tarek, who was also PSI co-founder.
- Muhammad Shafee: Based on the bank statement, Tarek was paid US$85 million out of the US$700 million from Good Star for commission as part of the JV deal between 1MDB and PSI.
Shahrol Azral: Yes. The joint-venture is the 1MDB-Petrosaudi deal.
Muhammad Shafee: So, US$700 million went there, US$85 million to Tarek to swipe as commission or purported commission, Shahrol Azral replied, “Yes”.
DAY 29 (Oct 31):
- The High Court adjourned the trial after the former prime minister called in sick again due to swollen eyes and the proceedings to continue on Monday.