Crime & Courts

Loo said her name was misused in 1MDB global-scale financial scandal

KUALA LUMPUR: Jasmine Loo Ai Swan said she had been deceived by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low after her name became entangled in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial scandal, the High Court heard today.

The 1MDB former general counsel said she was shocked when she realised that she was named as an authorised signatory in Tanore Finance Corp, which allegedly sent millions of the company's funds into Datuk Seri Najib Razak's bank account.

"I only found out about this company when it was reported in the media and by the Department of Justice in 2016.

"When I found out about this, I remembered that in October 2012, I went to Falcon Bank in Zurich, Switzerland, together with Low and Eric Tan Kim Loong to open a private bank account there.

"Low and Tan were also planning to open bank accounts there at that time.

"At that time, Tan asked me if I could hold power of attorney for his account in the event of his death, which I agreed," she said.

Loo said this when testified in Najib's corruption trial for misappropriating millions of 1MDb funds before presiding judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

She said at that time, Tan did not choose any name for the company, and she only signed the power of attorney documents in blank.

She said in December 2012, the bank contacted her asking about Tan's account, but she refused to be involved until Tan had passed away.

"When I read the media reports and DOJ documents, I found out that the Tanore Finance Corp account was at Falcon Private Bank in Singapore.

"It was said that the documentation I signed was in Singapore, and all the arrangements to include my name were made by Low.

"I was extremely angry because I never dealt with any officers from Falcon Bank in Singapore or Tanore Finance Corp at any time.

"I only dealt with and contacted bank officers at the Faclon Bank in Zurich," she said, adding that only when the news surfaced, she realised that the documents she signed in Zurich had been misused by Falcon Bank, Tan, and Low.

Loo said when she confronted Low, the latter said she did not need to worry as Faclon Bank chief executive officer Eduardo Leehman knew she was not involved in Tanore Finance Corp or any other bank account related to Tan.

"I then continued to question this matter and scolded Low for involving my name in this transaction, which had nothing to do with me.

"Low later explained to me that the funds issued through the US$3 billion bonds were used in the 13th General Election as political funds.

"Only when explained by Low did I learn the truth. He assured me that all these transactions were legitimate," she added.

On Sept 20, last year, a Bank Negara analyst Adam Ariff Mohd Roslan described to the court how US$681 million of 1MDB funds siphoned into Najib's personal bank account 10 years ago.

He said the rogue financer, through the shell company Tanore Finance Corporation, transferred the funds it received from 1MDB subsidiary 1MDB Global Investment Ltd (1GIL) via multiple layers of transactions.

Adam Ariff said 1GIL via Devonshire Funds Ltd. had transferred US$640 million into Tanore and Granton Property Holding Ltd – both owned by Tan.

The 29-year-old analyst said on March 21, 2013, both entities (Tanore and Granton) received US$210,000,000 and US$430,000,000, respectively.

"On the same day, Granton then transferred all the received funds (US$430 million) to Tanore despite having no balance in its account.

"In effect, Tanore received US$640 million in total from 1GIL via Devonshire.

"Tanore later instructed Falcon Bank to transfer US$681 million to Najib's bank account as soon as possible.

"A total of US$620 million was immediately transferred into Najib's bank account at AmIslamic Bank.

"The remaining US$61 million was transferred on March 25," he said.

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