Najib admits didn’t verify Saudi ‘donations’ with Wisma Putra

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 9, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Wisma Putra was not contacted in 2010 to check if the large sum from Saudi Arabia deposited into Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s AmBank accounts were personally from the Middle East kingdom’s ruling royal family, the High Court heard today.

Testifying in his own defence against the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he had not asked the Foreign Ministry to verify the source of the funds as the deposits were made not long after he met with Saudi monarch King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud in January 2010. 

The former prime minister said the representation he received from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho — known globally as Jho Low — and his relationship with the Saudi kingdom gave him no doubt concerning the deposits.

“However, I must stress that my belief that these funds were donations was not something I kept as a secret. 

“The matter was made known to AmBank and all transactions and documents were reported to Bank Negara Malaysia and Tan Sri Zeti herself. Not once was the issue raised,” Najib said from the witness stand.

Najib, who chose to testify under oath, is legally required to present his own testimony as the defence’s first witness.

Referring to documents tendered in court, Najib said they were from the Saudi royal family notifying him of the incoming donations.

He told the court he received them from Low, and stressed the Penang-born businessman shared a close relationship with the Middle Eastern monarchs. 

“The fact that BNM had never raised any red flags from 2011 to 2014 even with these transactions led me to believe that all of these funds were as what I have previously mentioned,” the Pekan MP said, using the initials for the central bank.

In his testimony last week, Najib said he believed multiple transactions amounting to RM3.2 billion from 2011 to 2013 that made its way into his personal accounts were Saudi royal family donations.

He testified that he believed the funds from senders identified as Prince Faisal Turki, Blackstone Real Estate Partner, and Tanore Finance Corp, were part of the donations from Saudi monarch King Abdullah. 

It was previously revealed that a total of 23 transactions that were made into AmBank current account ending-694; US99.9 million dollars or RM 304 million transferred in 2011; US269.9 million dollars or RM831.9 million in 2012, and US680.9 million or RM2.08 billion in 2013.

Najib had previously testified that supporting documents of the donations were shown to him by his former special officer Datuk Azlin Alias, who said the documents originated from Low.

Najib is on trial for seven charges related to SRC International. 

Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum. 


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