Lawyer to Build Case That Najib Was Manipulated in 1MDB Scandal

(Bloomberg) -- The lawyer representing Najib Razak will follow a money trail from a former unit of 1MDB to argue that the former Malaysian prime minister was manipulated.

Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing over his role in the troubled state fund, saying he was misled by others, such as fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low. Najib’s facing his first trial that revolves around seven of the total 42 charges laid against him.

Lawyer to Build Case That Najib Was Manipulated in 1MDB Scandal

His lawyer Harvinder Singh argued that 103 million ringgit ($25 million) flowed from SRC International Sdn, a former unit of 1MDB, to its subsidiaries and that 42 million ringgit ended up in Najib’s accounts. That left more than 60 million ringgit unaccounted for, Harvinder said in court on Wednesday.

Read updates to the first of Malaysia’s 1MDB trials.

Najib “was manipulated by certain people, and they have gained tremendously,” Harvinder said.

The judge allowed Harvinder to explore one of the seven money trails the lawyer brought up and ordered the witness, an officer at Affin Bank Bhd., to prepare the relevant documents. Prosecutors had objected to Harvinder’s suggestion, saying it would mean having to “go on a wild goose chase” as the case is only related to the 42 million ringgit stated in the charges.

More than a dozen witnesses have testified at the trial, including central bank officers and a number of recipients of checks from Najib, such as members of his party, a specialist plumber and an interior designer. Earlier on Wednesday, the court heard from a witness that Najib issued a 2.5 million ringgit check to a law firm with the funds intended for Habibul Rahman, a former Malaysia Airlines board member.

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