Crime & Courts

Loo denies conspiring against Najib, calls it 'digging her own grave'

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan denied conspiring against Datuk Seri Najib Razak, referring to it as "digging her own grave".

The former lawyer said it was impossible for her to conspire with her former boss Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi who was then the 1MDB chief executive against Najib who was the sitting prime minister and finance minister at the time.

She said this when testifying as key prosecution witness in Najib's corruption trial for misappropriating millions of 1MDB funds before the High Court today.

During re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Deepa Nair Thevaharan, Loo said she believed fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, who is suspected of masterminding the global-scale financial scandal, represented himself as Najib's spokesperson.

"For instance, during a meeting in London in 2011, Jho Low told me beforehand that Najib would be there and that we (1MDB management) should prepare the necessary documents for the additional US$1 billion loan.

"This is also what Shahrol instructed me but Jho Low also told me the same thing and then subsequently that transaction happened," she said.

In a separate matter, Loo said she believed that Najib had cleared her in 2017 concerning the wrongdoing in the sovereign wealth fund.

Loo said she was called to give her statement to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the police in 2016.

"Eventually I only gave a statement to BNM, however, there was no action taken against me by both authorities in 2016.

"I believe Najib had cleared me. I recall seeing a news article where Najib, in a parliamentary reply, said an investigation on me and Casey Tang (another 1MDB executive) had been completed and we have been removed from BNM watchlist," she said.

Loo was referring to a media report on March 8, 2017, in relation to Najib's response to a written question by former Kelana Jaya member of parliament Wong Chen.

Najib in his reply stated that Loo and Tang had been removed from the BNM watchlist and this action was taken following the completion of investigations by the authorities.

"For your information, the investigation involving the two individuals has been completed and based on its outcome, enforcement action was taken against the company according to existing laws with consent from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), whereby BNM issued a compound letter to the 1MDB administration for failing to fully adhere to the orders issued under the Exchange Control Act 1953," Najib was quoted.

Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however, objected to Loo's statement by saying that both Loo and Tan were removed from BNM watchlist due to a compound issued against 1MDB.

"The police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission did not clear her," Shafee said.

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 before presiding judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.

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