Crime & Courts

Star witness Loo tells court Jho Low paid her RM100 million for joint venture investments [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had a field day grilling former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, accusing her of being one of the "gang of conmen"' siphoning billions of the company's funds.

The senior lawyer also described the relationship between Loo and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low as akin to the infamous American bandit pair Bonnie and Clyde for their role in the global-scale financial scandal.

Loo, a former fugitive, disagreed with all Shafee's contentions but agreed that Low had trusted her to the extent of entrusting her with millions of ringgit for their investment.

She said Low had paid her RM100 million between 2011 and 2014 as part of their joint venture to make investments.

Loo said this during cross-examination by Shafee during Datuk Seri Najib Razak's corruption trial for misappropriating millions of 1MDB funds at the High Court today.

Shafee: You were allowed to fabricate illegal documents because you were the most trusted (person to Low).

Loo: I disagree.

Shafee: I put it to you that when the 1MDB financial scandal blew up, Low continued to support you financially and prevented your detention by arranging for you to enter Myanmar without a passport stamp.

Loo: I disagree.

Loo later explained that she entered Myanmar in 2019 and remained there for four years, all the while negotiating with the Malaysian authorities for her safe return to the country in 2021.

However, she said it was not an easy feat (to enter Myanmar) as she was apprehended by Myanmar soldiers upon her arrival, a situation that she claimed was imposed upon her.

The former lawyer said she had her passport with her, but it was not stamped as she used another travel document arranged by Low to show that she was a local.

Shafee: How did you get the (forged) passport?

Loo: It was given to me in Myanmar... I believe Low must have arranged it.

Shafee: Why do you need the fake passport?

Loo: To continue staying in Myanmar.

Shafee later focused his line of questioning on Loo's negotiation with the former attorney-general (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun regarding her "safe passage" to return to the country.

On Feb 14, Loo testified that Low swore to make her life a living hell and told her that he would use every resource and power at his disposal to ensure that she would meet a terrible end if she ever returned to Malaysia.

"My lawyers negotiated with the then A-G to guarantee my safe return and that I would cooperate with the authorities in their investigation.

"I did not want to be left in Myanmar and face possible persecution there," she said, adding that she also requested the prosecution to withdraw several criminal charges against her.

In 2018, Low alongside four others linked to the scandal — Loo, Terence Geh, Casey Tang Keng Chee and Eric Tan Kim Loong — were charged in absentia at the Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur magistrates' courts over money-laundering cases linked to the 1MDB scandal.

Loo was charged with two counts of laundering more than US$6 million received in a Swiss account she controlled on Dec 6, 2012 and July 1, 2014.

This is believed to be a portion of the funds diverted from the first two 1MDB bond offerings underwritten by Goldman Sachs.

Najib, 70, is facing 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 trial continues.

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