Najib received US$30 million from Jho Low shell company in 2012, court told

A witness in Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial says US$30 million from Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners flowed into the former prime minister’s AmIslamic personal banking account in 2012. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 19, 2023.

A BANK Negara Malaysia analyst told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that a personal banking account belonging to former prime minister Najib Razak received US$30 million from a shell company, Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, purportedly set up by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

Adam Ariff Mohd Roslan, 29, said on October 30, 2012, a sum of US$5 million was paid and another US$25 million was paid on November 19 of the same year.

“Standard Chartered Bank’s records for Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners confirmed that the beneficiary account for both transfers is account number ‘2112022009694’ held under the name ‘AmPrivate Banking – MR’ with AmIslamic.

“Examination on the bank statement and records dated Oct 31, 2012, and Nov 20, 2012, for the account number 2112022009694 maintained in the name of ‘AmPrivate Banking – MR and/or Mohd Najib And Razak’ provided by AmIslamic, matched the transfers,” said Adam.

The 47th prosecution witness said this when verifying the money trail report at Najib’s trial involving the alleged misappropriation of RM2.3 billion of 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.

It was reported that Low set up Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, a shell company with a similar name to real estate private equity firm, Blackstone Real Estate, and he had deliberately used a naming convention for offshore shell companies built by him to resemble well-established companies, in his conspiracy to siphon millions of dollars from 1MDB.

Earlier, Adam confirmed the RM60.6 million received by the accused in his personal bank account on February and June 2011 originated from Islamic medium-term notes bonds issued in 2009 by 1MDB predecessor, Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA). TIA was renamed 1MDB on September 25, 2009.

On the first day of trial on August 28, 2019, the prosecution had said it would show that 1MDB funds had been transferred in multiple transactions to Najib’s accounts, namely US$20 million or over RM60 million from the first phase and US$30 million or over RM90 million in the second phase.

The prosecution will also show US$681 million or over RM2 billion had been transferred in the third phase, and transactions in British pounds that were equivalent to a combined total of over RM49 million during the fourth phase.

Najib was seen in his usual suit-and-tie attire in the courtroom today, while his few supporters were seen sitting in the public gallery in the courtroom.

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 tomorrow. – Bernama, September 19, 2023.

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