Crime & Courts

MACC: Ex-S'pore banker convicted over 1MDB scandal refuses to testify in Najib's trial [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Singaporean Yak Yew Chee, who was jailed 18 weeks and fined S$24,000 for forgery and failure to disclose information on suspicious transactions related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in 2016, refused to come to Malaysia to testify in the trial involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak here.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) senior officer Nur Aida Arifin, testifying as the 49th prosecution witness, told the High Court that the feedback she received was that Yak did not want to give his statement here.

Bloomberg reported that Yak, a former BSI SA private banker, was the first person to be found guilty in a Singaporean case linked to the 1MDB scandal.

Asked by defence lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah if Yak was still in Singapore, Nur Aida said her Singaporean counterpart told her that the former banker was not in the country.

Nur Aida also said Yak had been released from prison.

She added that previously, former Singaporean banker Kevin Michael Swampillai had testified as the 44th prosecution witness in April last year.

Before presiding judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah today, Nur Aida said MACC, through the Attorney-General's Chambers, in 2018 and 2019 wrote to four countries requesting to record the statements of several bank witnesses as part of its 1MDB probe.

However, the applications to Switzerland, Barbados, Hong Kong and Netherlands were never entertained, she told the court.

"I made the applications to Switzerland and Singapore on Aug 23,2018, Barbados on March 6, 2019, and Hong Kong on Jan 22, 2019.

"I did not receive any response from the countries, except for Singapore.

"The applications were made at the same time we wrote to the countries to obtain evidence through mutual legal evidence," she said.

Nur Aida was testifying against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is standing trial on 25 charges of abuse of power and laundering alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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