Well, well — another week, another legal overtime dime in the on-going case of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) versus former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably read more about this trial in the last year plus than you have of your email inbox, and something about the day-to-day laundry list of charges and accusations is just maybe making you glaze over, like a glistening Jho Low under the hot sun.
Not to worry, we’ve taken the week’s most salacious, pertinent and random details, and digested them into bite-sized tidbits so you can keep up with only the good stuff.
“Sorry” and also, “you’re welcome.”
First thing’s first — Malaysia’s High Court heard more details this week of the elusive Arab donor, initially named as a multi-million-dollar benefactor to the Yayasan 1MDB Trust Fund. Turns out checks were indeed written, but no one ever cashed them.
Kinda like bringing a fire extinguisher to a blaze, but using it as a stool instead, amirite?!
Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halim told the courts that the at-large fugitive financier slash shiny human profiterole, Jho Low, brought four checks to him way back in September 2010. Low is alleged to have given explicit instructions to keep the checks but not to actually do anything with them. Each one was purported to be written out to the tune of US$25 million.
Some might call it vision boarding (if you write it, maybe the cash will come?), while others may just wonder what the point is in calling it a “donation” if it’s just a piece of paper.
If you’re the prosecution, you’ll argue that the former PM and Jho Low were just covering their wing-tipped tracks with some “sham documents.”
Potato, poh-tah-toe; tomato, that’s some bravado!
Having left the company by 2013, Shahrol told the courts that during his time, he was made aware that Red Granite Pictures, Scorsese’s bank-roller for Wolf of Wall Street, run by Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, had received money that was allegedly siphoned off from 1MDB.
Surprised? Well, if you take into account that Red Granite partners Riza and Joey McFarland had most successfully previously produced a party before making their foray from nowhere into hundred-million-dollar films… not really.
The defense objects, calling the testimony “hearsay.” Mkay.
Hey, wanna know something totally unsurprising about the unofficial King of the Friendzone Miranda Kerr’s ex-boyfriend? Apparently, Jho Low’s tipple of choice when visiting the former PM was Milo ais, aka Milo on ice, aka that drink that your diabetic uncle won’t stop ordering at the mamak, despite his raging glucose levels and the articles you keep forwarding him.
Surprised? Not really. If we’re giving (alleged!) zero f*cks over siphoned off billions, what’s a little chocolate flavored sugar water between friends? It can’t always be Cristal, bbz.
Shahrol’s testimony also alleged that Najib was on the receiving end of some very generous gifts from PetroSaudi International (PSI) during a meeting between PSI’s former CEO, former PM Najib and Jho Low at the Four Seasons in London.
At the time, PSI co-founder Tarek Obaid, is said to have given Najib a watch. When asked to characterize the watch, Shahrol described that “it looked expensive.”
According to the former CEO, the Saudis were looking to partner with Malaysia in order to finance the building of navy ships, and listen up kids – that kind of deal doesn’t happen exchanging Swatches.
If you’re into irony, bathos, and the derision of our collective moral fibers, you might also enjoy knowing that in addition to the alleged billions that the fat cats behind 1MDB are accused of siphoning off, Najib also paid himself a yearly stipend of RM216,000 (US$51,500) to sit on the fund’s advisory board.
According to Shahrol, “the amount was fixed by Datuk Seri himself in his capacity as the advisory board’s chairman.”
One man’s (alleged!) abuse of power is another man’s vertical integration, kids.
Low’s name was ubiquitous in more alleged intrigue at 1MDB: The former CEO also claims that the elusive former yacht-dweller also gave him talking points regarding 1MDB, to ensure that no one strayed off subject when it came to the fund’s… shall we say … “questionable” dealings.
“For each talking points document or action plan and emails that I received from Jho Low, he always instructed me to ensure those documents are destroyed with the reason that they contain very confidential and sensitive documents and can be misused to threaten Datuk Seri Najib’s position politically if it falls into the wrong hands.”
Shahrol added that there might have been documents which he had overlooked and failed to destroy, aka RECEIPTS, and we are here for it.
Spill that tea, and take ‘em down like a political Tekashi 69.
And that concludes this week’s foray into some of the juicier highlights of Najib’s on-going 1MDB trial, where he is currently facing 25 of the 42 charges currently lodged against him. Prosecutors are alleging money-laundering and abuse of power, but we’re mostly here for the gratuitous details on our favorite missing bao, Jho Low.
Jho, come home!! We’re so ready for that welcome party.
This article, This Week in 1MDB: Najib allegedly gifted a fancy watch and Jho Low likes his Milo on the rocks, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!