By: Sevagamy Nythiananthan
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Fugitive businessman Jho Low (also known as Low Taek Jho) was the sole link between state-owned sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), its then chief executive officer (CEO) and former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
1MDB’s former CEO, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, told this to the High Court here today, explaining that despite this, Jho Low had no formal position in 1MDB and was also not a special advisor to the company.
During previous proceedings, the court heard that Jho Low was the advisor of Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA), which became 1MDB in September 2009.
The ninth prosecution witness was speaking during cross-examination by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the defence counsel for Najib on the 19th day of the former premier’s trial relating to the misuse of 1MDB funds.
Muhammad Shafee: What was Jho Low’s position in 1MDB?
Shahrol Azral: He had no formal position in 1MDB
Muhammad Shafee: What was his non-formal position in 1MDB?
Shahrol Azral: He was the link between 1MDB, me and also the sole shareholder, Datuk Seri Najib.
Muhammad Shafee: That’s what Jho Low claimed that time, that he was the link.
To a question on who the sole shareholder of 1MDB was in October 2009, Shahrol Azral said it was Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc) – during a previous day of trial, the witness had told the court that Najib was equated with MOF Inc.
Najib, 66, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
Senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram led the prosecution team.
Hearing before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.