Najib: Yes, my credit cards used for RM3.3m in one day to buy gifts for ‘royalty’

Ida Lim
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 15, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak appears to have admitted that his two personal credit cards were used in 2014 for transactions worth RM3.3 million in a single day at a Swiss luxury jeweller’s store in Italy, but has claimed that the money was splashed out on gifts for a mysterious unnamed royalty.

Just hours after a senior bank officer confirmed in court the 10 transactions totalling €763,500 (equivalent to RM3,364,670.65 based on exchange rates then), Najib publicly announced what he claimed the spending at jeweller De Grisogono was for, but coyly denied links to two countries often mentioned in the 1MDB fiasco.

“This spending is for gifts to a senior member of the royalty of a government and their entourage that has good relations with our country (Not Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi).

“Their family and entourage were with us in our family’s visit to Italy then,” Najib wrote in a Facebook post last night, but did not name the alleged foreign country that the purported “gift” recipient belonged to.

“It is a norm to give gifts to leaders of other governments,” he said, adding that it was usually the government which would bear the costs of such gifts but he had then “paid with my credit cards”.

Najib was both the prime minister and finance minister during the August 8, 2014 spending spree worth RM3.3 million on the alleged “gifts”.

“The purchase and giving of the gift on August 8, 2014 also received a response via a letter dated August 15, 2014 from the gift recipient,” he claimed, posting a faint and slightly grainy copy of the purported letter addressed to Najib’s wife with the given title “Mrs Rosmah Mansor”.

Najib said he had blocked out the name of the alleged gift recipient as it would be unfair for the name to be used publicly, but claimed that the original copy of the letter would be presented in court as evidence and that his lawyer would then provide explanations.

“As this SRC case is still under trial, I am not able to explain further at this time,” he said, referring to his ongoing trial over former 1Malaysia Development Berhad unit SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

In his Facebook post, Najib did not explain why the RM3.3 million was charged on his two credit cards via 10 separate smaller transactions, or explain the source of funds that were used to pay for the RM3.3 million bill.

Yeoh Eng Leong, senior vice-president of Ambank's credit card authorisation and fraud management, is pictured at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur July 15, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Yesterday, AmBank’s senior vice-president of credit card authorisation and fraud management Yeoh Eng Leong confirmed payments of RM449,586.95 and RM2,833,147.21 were paid on August 13, 2014 for the bills for Najib’s Mastercard Platinum and Visa Platinum card.

This matches a previous prosecution witness’s testimony by AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan’s branch manager R. Uma Devi of a total RM3,282,734.16 or over RM3.2 million being paid out from Najib’s AmBank account 2112022011880 to these two Platinum credit card accounts at AmBank on August 13, 2014.

In the same Facebook post yesterday, Najib claimed he seldom used these credit cards and alleged that the RM3.3 million was his biggest spending for the cards.

“The entire credit limit of RM3 million was used in one day on August 8, 2014.

“It should also be stressed that this is not SRC’s credit card but credit cards under my name,” the Pekan MP said.

Najib is currently facing seven charges of abusing his position, money-laundering and criminal breach of trust over RM42 million of SRC International’s funds.

He will be back in the High Court today, where the 49th prosecution witness in his SRC International trial would be called.

Among other things, witnesses and evidence produced in court have indicated that money flowed through SRC International’s accounts into various accounts such as Najib’s personal bank accounts.

Witnesses have also previously testified on Najib’s monthly income as a federal lawmaker and as a prime minister in the past.

For example, the court was told previously that Najib had a monthly income of RM48,681.65 for January to April 2009 when he was deputy prime minister, and an increased monthly income at RM58,605.15 from May 2009 to April 2018.

As for Najib’s monthly pay as an MP, it was RM10,355.18 from January 2011 to December 2014 excluding special payments, and RM19,846.59 monthly between January 2015 and March 2018.

Additional monthly allowances that Najib received in the past as an MP for both being part of the ruling administration and as head of the Dewan Rakyat as the prime minister then are RM10,355.18 from January 2011 to December 2014, and RM19,846.59 from January 2015 to March 2018.

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