1MDB Trial: JV with PetroSaudi was about ‘friend helping a friend’ – Witness

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 (NNN-BERNAMA)  — The High Court here today was told that the joint-venture (JV) between 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) was deemed as “a friend helping a friend”.

Former chief executive officer of 1MDB, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said the matter was informed to him by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

The ninth prosecution witness said this when cross-examined by former Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, on the 23rd day of the former prime minister’s trial involving 1MDB funds.

Muhammad Shafee: Jho Low told you this deal was “a friend helping a friend”?

Shahrol Azral: He told me the deal was done on a friend-helping-a-friend basis.

Muhammad Shafee:  He concluded that?

Shahrol Azral: Yes.

Meanwhile,  Shahrol Azral told the court that there was only oral due diligence done on PSI before the JV with 1MDB.

The witness pointed out that due diligence done on PSI was not put down on paper or even presented to the fund’s board.

“During that time, we took it that we need to execute the Government-to-Government (G2G) deal. At that time I believed that PSI is a trustworthy partner,” he said. 

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.

The hearing before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues, with senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution.