Crime & Courts

1MDB trial: Everything was referred to Najib, says Jasmine Loo

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd general counsel Jasmine Loo told the High Court today that her perception when she joined the company was that everything was referred to Datuk Seri Najib Razak before any project can be carried out.

The 50th prosecution witness said this was based on Najib's role as prime minister as well as the chairman of the 1MDB board of advisers (BOA) and the representative of the finance ministry, which is 1MDB's shareholder.

She said it was the norm in 1MDB for everything to be referred to Najib and, essentially, it was just one individual who was making all the decisions.

However, Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah objected to the statement, saying that his client's two roles, as prime minister and chairman of the BOA, were separate ones.

He said the chairman of the BOA cannot start anything without first referring the matter to the 1MDB board of directors (BOD), which he added was the "dominant organ" in the company.

Shafee said, as a lawyer, Look should know that Najib, as BOA chairman, cannot do anything without the green light of the BOD.

He then suggested that Loo had deliberately ignored this as she was part of the conspiracy to cheat 1MDB of its monies.

However, Loo denied all that Shafee had suggested and repeated her testimony that any approval given to a project meant that it was approved by the prime minister, finance minister and BOA chairman, since they were one and the same person.

She also reiterated her testimony that it was the norm for any decision to be referred to Najib as BOA chairman.

"When I was with 1MDB, this was the practice and we relied on the professional advice of the company secretary. But, if there was a different opinion, that is how they did it (referring the decision to Najib)," she said.

Shafee then suggested that it was Loo's duty as general counsel to ensure that 1MDB followed the memorandum and articles of association of the company, but she replied in the negative and reiterated that everything was referred to Najib.

Meanwhile, Loo also denied testimony from former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner during the New York trial of the financial institution's ex-head of investment banking Roger Ng.

Shafee had brought up the matter when he referred to a transcript of the trial where Leissner had said that Loo was one of the main components linking fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, to 1MDB.

The senior lawyer asked Loo if she was aware that Leissner had testified that she had essentially been appointed to legitimise documents which actually broke the law.

Loo then replied that she was not aware of Leissner's testimony.

Shafee then read out another excerpt from Leissner's testimony in which he had said Loo had been dissatisfied with the amount of money she received from what was skimmed from 1MDB.

Loo, however, disagreed with what Leissner had said.

Loo was testifying in Najib's corruption trial for misappropriating millions of 1MDb funds before presiding judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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