Low Taek Jho or Jho Low
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 -- The former chief executive officer of state-owned sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the High Court here today that businessman Jho Low represented both the Terengganu and federal governments.
"He (Jho Low) did not have formal authority in governing Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA) but he could influence decisions at the executive level because he represented both parties at the top, that is DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin (Terengganu state government) and Datuk Seri Najib (federal government)," said Shahrol Azral, when explaining that he viewed the fugitive businessman (officially known as Low Taek Jho) as playing an important role as adviser to Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA) which eventually became 1MDB.
Shahrol Azral said this when testifying as the ninth prosecution witness in the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, 66, who faces four charges of abusing his position to obtain gratification amounting to RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds and 21 money laundering charges involving the same amount.
The Pekan MP is alleged to have committed the first four offences at the Jalan Raja Chulan branch of AmIslamic Bank Berhad between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014, while the money laundering was committed between March 22 and Aug 30, 2013 at the same location.
Shahrol Azral, 49, also told the court that Jho Low had acted as adviser to the TIA from the early days of its inception, although he was only appointed formally as adviser on April 8, 2009 through a resolution issued by the TIA .
The witness explained that the businessman himself had told him that he wanted the appointment to be made in black and white to ensure that his role was transparent.
In its 11th day of hearing, the case saw senior deputy public prosecutor and former federal court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution, while Najib was represented by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and team.
The court also heard from Shahrol Azral that requests made by Jho Low to the former on several occasions, on behalf of Najib in reference to big decisions concerning 1MDB operations, were consistent with feedback from Najib.
This was because the former CEO had checked these requests against minutes containing Najib's views, as well as verbal feedback received from the former prime minister.
Hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, continues tomorrow.