1MDB trial: Jasmine Loo says thought fake PetroSaudi was legitimate firm

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) general counsel Jasmine Loo told the High Court today she was under the impression that 1MDB’s alleged business partner PetroSaudi International (PSI) Limited was a legitimate entity based in Saudi Arabia.

Loo, who was 1MDB general counsel from May 2011 to November 2013, said this while testifying as the 50th prosecution witness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.2 billion of 1MDB funds.

1MDB had undertaken a purported joint venture with PSI Limited, which eventually resulted in 1MDB losing billions of ringgit to the purported “investment” which had zero returns.

Under cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Loo was asked if she knew that PSI Limited was a fraudulent entity devised by fugitive Low Taek Jho and PSI senior official Tarek Obaid.

To this, Loo said there was no reason for her suspect this at the time because she had relied on the groundwork that had already been laid including representations made to her by 1MDB’s former chief executive Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

1MDB would end up giving a total of US$1.83 billion for the purported joint venture with PSI Limited that was later converted into an arrangement to loan money to PSI Limited, with US$800 million of the funds sent to the joint venture firm and US$1.03 billion was sent to Low’s Good Star Limited which had no business ties with 1MDB.

When pressed by Muhammad Shafee as to whether due diligence was conducted since she was 1MDB’s general counsel, Loo said she did not see a necessity then since there was nothing that triggered suspicion at the time.

“My impression was that PSI did exist, that was the impression I got,” she said.

Later, Muhammad Shafee accused Loo of giving self-serving testimony as she herself has been under investigations by the authorities for her involvement in the fraud.

Loo, who was on the run for several years before returning to Malaysia last year, denied the allegation and reiterated she was merely giving oral evidence on what transpired at the troubled sovereign wealth fund.

Muhammad Shafee had earlier challenged some of her oral testimony as hearsay as Loo was recalling what Low had told her about documents being handed over to Najib to be signed.

In the 1MDB trial, Najib is facing 25 charges over the alleged misappropriation of more than RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds which were said to have entered his private bank accounts at AmBank.

However, Najib claimed the funds were political donations to him from Saudi Arabia’s royalty.