Najib received RM4m from 1MDB unit’s US$250m loan in 2014, again via Jho Low’s shadow’s firms, money trail shows

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2014 received RM4 million of funds originating from a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary’s US$250 million bank loan, with the money funnelled to him through companies controlled by Malaysian fugitive Low Taek Jho’s associate Eric Tan Kim Loong, a money trail produced in the High Court showed.

Adam Ariff Mohd Roslan, an analyst at Bank Negara Malaysia, said this when laying out the money trail as the 47th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial.

Najib is facing 25 charges over the misappropriated RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds said to have entered his private AmIslamic bank accounts in four phases of the alleged 1MDB scheme.

Basing the money trail on multiple banking documents, Adam Ariff said that 1MDB unit 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited (1MEHL) had on May 26, 2014 took a US$250 million loan from Deutsche Bank, with over US$239.9 million of the loan proceeds then entering 1MEHL’s Falcon Bank account on May 28, 2014.

Money from 1MEHL’s US$250 million loan was then passed around to three different bank accounts in increasingly smaller amounts and changed hands in four transactions, before finally landing in Najib’s personal AmIslamic bank account which carried the codename “AmPrivate Banking-1MY”, the money trail showed.

All these cross-border transactions — which resulted in money borrowed by 1MEHL ending up in Najib’s account — took place within less than a month, the money trail showed.

After receiving the US$239 million on May 28, 2014, 1MEHL on about the same day instructed its bank to transfer US$175 million to the BSI Bank account of British Virgin Islands-incorporated Aabar Investments PJS Limited (now known to be a fake company with a strikingly similar name to the actual Abu Dhabi-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS).

On June 17, 2014, US$19 million was sent out by the fake Aabar to Affinity Equity International Partners Limited’s DBS Singapore bank account.

On June 19, 2014, Affinity Equity withdrew US$1.89 million and sent the funds to Blackrock Commodities (Global) Limited’s DBS Singapore bank account.

Upon receiving the US$1.89 million on June 19, 2014, Blackrock on the same day sent British pounds 750,000 to Najib’s “AmPrivate Banking-1MY” account. (This was equivalent to US$1,277,250 or over US$1.277 million.)

The 750,000 British pounds was converted to RM4,093,500 or slightly over RM4 million before being banked into Najib’s AmPrivate Banking-1MY account by June 23, 2014.

Based on the account’s bank statement, Adam Ariff said Najib’s AmPrivate Banking-1MY had RM100,000 before the RM4 million sum came in.

This is part of the fourth phase.

Among other things, Adam Ariff confirmed the unbroken chain of transactions from Affinity Equity to Blackrock and then to Najib, as Blackrock only had about RM7,000 in its bank account before receiving the US$1.89 million from Affinity Equity and that it did not receive any more money in its account before it sent out US$1.277 million to Najib's "AmPrivate Banking-1MY" account.

Asked by deputy public prosecutor Kamal Baharin Omar, Adam Ariff referred to multiple documents including bank documents which showed that Tan Kim Loong was named as the sole account user and the beneficiary owner and sole authorised signatory for the DBS bank accounts for both Affinity Equity and Blackrock.

Asked to compare the bank account opening documents for both Affinity Equity and Blackrock, Adam Ariff found that both companies had the exact same phone numbers and the same mailing address in Singapore and the same registered address in the British Virgin Islands, and that the Malaysian man Tan was listed as both companies' account user with the same phone number as the companies and with his email address being the same in both companies' bank documents.

Low is better known as Jho Low, and the prosecution on the first day of trial had described Tan as Low’s “shadow” and Low as Najib’s mirror image and alter ego.

Bank Negara Malaysia analyst Adam Ariff Mohd Roslan is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex September 21, 2023. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Bank Negara Malaysia analyst Adam Ariff Mohd Roslan is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex September 21, 2023. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Bank Negara Malaysia analyst Adam Ariff Mohd Roslan is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex September 21, 2023. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Earlier this week, Adam Ariff laid out the money trail for first and second phase of the 1MDB scheme, saying that the RM60 million and RM90 million which were sent to Najib’s AmIslamic account with the codename “AmPrivate Banking-MR” in 2011 and 2012 respectively could all be traced back to funds belonging to 1MDB and 1MDB’s subsidiary 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited’s (1MELL).

The first phase saw US$20 million or RM60 million of 1MDB funds travelling through Low’s company Good Star Limited’s RBS Coutts bank account and to a bank account belonging to a “Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Bandar Al Saud” before it reached Najib’s account which had RM484 as its balance then, while the second phase saw US$30 million or RM90 million of 1MELL’s funds flowed through accounts including Jho Low’s associate’s Tan’s Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners’s account before reaching Najib’s account.

As for the third phase, Adam Ariff had yesterday showed how US$681 million from a US$2.72 billion debt taken on by 1MDB subsidiary 1MDB Global Investments Limited (1GIL) was funnelled out for purported investments, only to end up passing through Jho Low’s associate Tan’s two companies Granton Property Holding Limited and Tanore Finance Corp before ending up in Najib’s “AmPrivate Banking-MR” account in 2013. Najib’s account had over RM879 million before the US$681 million (RM2.081 billion) came in.

On the first day of trial, the prosecution had said it would show that 1MDB funds had been transferred in multiple transactions to Najib’s accounts, namely US$20 million equivalent to RM60,629,839.43 or over RM60 million from the first phase, US$30 million equivalent to RM90,899,927.28 or over RM90 million (second phase), US$681 million equivalent to RM2,081,476,926 or over RM2 billion (third phase), and transactions in British pound that were equivalent to RM4,093,500 and RM45,837,485.70 or a combined total of RM49,930,985.70 million or over RM49 million (fourth phase).

Najib’s 1MDB trial is being heard before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.