KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Joanna Yu today agreed that as a banker, she had a close working relationship with businessman Low Taek Jho, who is now a fugitive and a wanted man in Malaysia over his role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Yu is a former AmBank banker now working in sales and had previously handled former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's personal bank accounts as relationship manager for AmBank's clients.
She was testifying as the 41st prosecution witness in Najib's trial over the misappropriation of 1MDB's RM2.28 billion, which was said to have entered the latter's personal bank accounts.
Asked by Najib's lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Yu confirmed her previously close relationship with Low, following her bank's handling of banking matters for companies in which Low was involved in.
Shafee: You developed a close relationship with Jho Low?
Shafee: As a banker?
Shafee: As a friend?
Yu said she was introduced by her superior at AmBank to Low for a banking matter in 2007, and that the first she got to know Low was during a meeting at the latter's company Wynton's office at the Petronas Twin Towers, in relation to a loan by Majestic Masterpiece Sdn Bhd.
At that time, Majestic Masterpiece — owned by Wynton Private Equity Group and Abu Dhabi Kuwait Malaysia Investment Corporation (Adkmic) — wanted to take over the shares of Loh & Loh Corporation Berhad and Putrajaya Perdana Berhad.
Asked by Shafee, Yu confirmed that she became close to Low over time while she was at AmBank, and had various meetings with Low where he would sometimes invite her to meet at his apartment at Kia Peng.
Shafee: Now this happened over a period of time and you got to be closer to him in terms of, I'm not suggesting an inappropriate relationship, I'm just suggesting you became close to him.
Shafee suggested that the apartment also doubles up as Low's office, but Yu said she was unsure.
Yu said the meetings at Low's apartment were mainly about the Majestic Masterpiece loan and confirmed that Low had a habit of calling bankers over to his apartment instead of going to the bank.
Yu said such meetings at Low's apartment would be during weekends when the latter was in town and would ask to meet at the apartment, agreeing that this was part of her duties as a relationship manager at AmBank and that there were always other individuals present at those meetings.
"There were always other people," she said, listing the individuals present at the apartment as including Casey Tang, Tan Vern Tact, Kee Kok Thiam, Jasmine Loo, and Jerome Lee.
Yu said Low had a habit of calling bankers over to his apartment instead of going to the bank. — Picture via Facebook
Asked by Shafee if she was now aware that Low is a crook, Yu confirmed this.
Shafee: Today you are aware that he is a crook? Today you are aware, by world standards, the whole world knows he is a crook?
Yu: I believe so.
Asked by Shafee, Yu confirmed she did not go to Brazil to watch football matches.
"I've not been to Brazil," Yu said.
Shafee: You are aware Jho Low took a team of people to go to Brazil to watch World Cup, football?
Yu: Only what I read in newspaper.
Najib's 1MDB trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes next Monday, where Shafee is expected to further cross-examine Yu.