Ex-Malaysia Airlines Director Testified He Received Check From Najib

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia seeks to extend Najib Razak’s trial as the proceeding reached the heart of the matter with a witness detailing the transactions leading from a former unit of 1MDB to the former premier’s accounts.

Najib is undergoing the first of what’s set to be many trials. The current proceeding, which started on April 3, revolves around seven of the total 42 charges he faces over his role in 1MDB. The court is discussing allegations of abuse of power, money laundering and breach of trust against him linked to 42 million ringgit ($10 million) of funds and SRC International Sdn, a former unit of 1MDB. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Key Developments

  • The court has heard from more than 20 witnesses, including an AmBank branch manager who detailed a series of transfers between and leading to Najib’s accounts. Earlier witnesses included central bank investigators and recipients of checks from Najib
  • The court discussed 10.78 million ringgit of checks issued by Najib and 20 million ringgit of checks issued by SRC in 2014 and 2015
  • Najib’s lawyer will follow a money trail from SRC to argue that the former premier was manipulated
  • Judge has ordered a central bank witness to produce email and phone transcripts obtained in the 2015 raid of an AmBank branch, including exchanges with former SRC officers and Jho Low

Ex-MAS director’s check funded intelligence work (April 30)

Habibul Rahman, a former Malaysia Airlines board member, took the witness stand and confirmed that he received a 2.5 million ringgit check from Najib. He refuted an earlier testimony by his lawyer that the funds were for a defense contract, saying the money was used to gather intelligence for political purposes instead. The check was addressed to a law firm so the money wouldn’t be recorded as his income, Habibul said.

Another witness said he received a 1 million ringgit check from Najib to spend on welfare programs to promote the former premier’s 1Malaysia tagline, which 1MDB falls under.

Najib’s trial set to be extended through June (April 29)

Attorney General Tommy Thomas seeks to extend the trial as they need “far more days.” He will apply for May 14 to 15, 17 and 28 to 31, as well as June 10 to 21 trial dates and get the approval of another judge to avoid clashing with Najib’s other proceedings. The current SRC trial was previously scheduled to end on May 10, while another 1MDB-linked trial is set to start May 14.

“Our preference is for this trial to complete before anything else starts,” Thomas said, implying that other 1MDB-linked trials may wait for the current proceeding to wrap up.

Earlier, the judge ruled against Najib’s bid on Friday to strike out the seven charges, saying that the arguments have little merit.

Further Reading

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