KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak claimed that he did not receive the full amount that the Saudi royal family had promised to give him in 2014 in his SRC International trial in the High Court.
Najib said he received over £10 million from the Saudi family in 2014 instead of the £50 million that was promised, in responding to ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram’s questions over the four tranches of “donations” he received between 2011 and 2014.
The lawyer pointed out that Najib had received a sum of US$1.05 billion from 2011 to 2013 from the late Saudi ruler King Abdullah.
In Najib’s witness statement, the former prime minister had testified that £10.4 million was deposited into his account from two entities, Vista Equity Commodities International Partners and Blackrock Pty Ltd, in 2014, Sithambaram said.
“In the letter dated June 1, 2014, addressed to you, the Saudi royals promised to provide you an additional sum of £50 million as they were ‘impressed by the significant work you have done in governing Malaysia using Islamic principles and how you were reintroducing Islam to the rest of the world’.
“But they only gave you over £10 million, and it was short of £40 million,” Sithambaram said.
Najib replied: “If you want to put it that way, they did not deliver the full amount.”The lawyer then said: “I find it astonishing that £40 million was not delivered and you were not aware”.
“I was not managing my account,” Najib replied, adding that his then secretary Azlin Alias and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil were tasked to manage the account and update him.
Najib also said to the court that he returned the majority of the US$681 million that he received in 2013 to the Saudi royal family four months after the 13th general election on his own accord.
Sithambaram commented: “I don’t want to get into the details of the fund as it is the subject matter in the 1MDB trial.”Meanwhile, regarding his Ambank account, ending with 694, Najib commented that in the application form to open the account, it was stated that the bank would send the statement to his Langgak Duta house every month.
Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho (better known as Jho Low) recommended Ambank to him and introduced the bank’s then managing director Cheah Tek Kuang to assist in the opening of the account in 2011, he said.
However, Najib claims that he could not recall if he had received and seen the bank statements from 2011 to 2013.
Amused by the reply, Sithambaram questioned Najib on whether he had ever checked that the “RM2.6 billion donation” was deposited into the bank account. “I was told about it,” Najib said.
The hearing continues tomorrow (Jan 23) before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
Najib is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International.
He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).