Umno couldn’t have no knowledge of monies from 1MDB, court hears

The DPP contends based on the money trail, the party and its politicians are the main beneficiaries.

Umno and its politicians received tainted 1MDB-linked monies via Najib Abdul Razak’s account, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today.

Deputy public prosecutor Liew Horng Bin submitted that this went against the main contention by the political party that the seized cash of RM114 million belonged to them while it disclaimed knowledge of any wrongdoing.

The DPP said a witness statement from Najib’s then-deputy chief private secretary, Iskandar Mohd Kaus, went against the party’s contention.

Liew said the witness never said the seized RM114 million were political donations and crucially failed to disclose the identities of any of the contributors.

“DSN (Najib) wore several hats – he was prime minister, finance minister, president of Umno and the chairperson of 1MDB board of advisers who had the final say in any business decisions of 1MDB.

“It has been proven based on the money trail conducted on DSN’s AmBank account 9694, AmBank account 1880, AmIslamic Account 1906 and 1898 that Umno and Umno’s politicians had received tainted monies traceable to 1MDB. Umno and its politicians are the main beneficiaries of the fraud perpetrated on 1MDB.

“When tens of millions of ringgit were paid out either by cheques or direct debits from DSN’s personal accounts to Umno and its associates, surely all was not well.

“DSN simply could not have the endless means to meet the funding black hole. Surely, one would question ‘where did DSN get his monies from’,” Liew told judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin.

The DPP was submitting during today’s hearing of the government’s lawsuit to forfeit RM114 million in cash seized from the Pavilion Residences, Kuala Lumpur, in 2018.

The lawsuit had named Obyu Holdings Sdn Bhd as respondent. However, the proceedings had previously also heard submissions from the legal teams of Najib and Umno, who are two third-party claimants in the matter.

Liew was responding to previous submissions from Umno that the prosecution failed to prove any link between the RM114 million and the alleged fraud against troubled sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

In past proceedings, Umno’s legal team had submitted that Umno leaders could not have known about dealings with the party’s account because only the party president could know about such things.

Previously, it was also reported that the court heard submissions from the prosecution that Umno has a secret unaudited account to receive political donations.

During an open-court hearing, Liew contended that incontrovertible banking records made it look far-fetched for Umno to claim it lacked knowledge or was unintentionally ignorant of the illegal source of the funds received.

The DPP claimed that the conduct of Umno and its associates postulated a classic case of willful blindness.

“It was obvious that Umno did nothing as could be reasonably expected to prevent the illegal use of the tainted monies from 1MDB.

“Umno has instead freely and tacitly consented to the dissipation of the illegal monies it received from 1MDB through DSN’s AmBank account 9694, AmBank account 1880, AmIslamic Account 1906 and 1898.

“No matter how one looks at this, there is no escaping the fact that Umno was right in the thick of things. Their involvement and collusion in the laundering of monies traceable to 1MDB were beyond doubt.

“For that reason, this honourable court should not countenance Umno’s argument that it does not care a tuppence if the seized cash is traceable to the misappropriated funds from 1MDB, or for that matter, any wrongdoing, when the preponderance of evidence is already all too clear to see,” Liew contended.

Liew also counter-submitted against arguments by Najib’s legal team that the former premier should have been listed as a respondent in the forfeiture action.

In previous proceedings, Najib’s legal team had submitted that the former prime minister should have been named as respondent because the writ of seizure of the cash was served on him during the 2018 raid.

Liew today countered that there was no express legal provision stating that a person served a writ of seizure should be named as a respondent in the later civil forfeiture proceedings.

Police arriving at the Pavilion Residences To confiscate the items in 2018

The DPP noted that at the time of the raid, the writ of seizure was not only served on Najib but also Obyu as well, due to the authorities not yet having ascertained who is the owner of the seized items at Pavilion Residences.

“On the fact of this case, during the stage of investigation, DSN has said that the seized cash was political donation which he held on trust as the then president for Umno. Yet his claim was controverted by the top management of Umno.

“All the office-bearers of Umno interviewed during the investigation denied that the cash seized belonged to Umno.

“The owner of Pavilion Residences, Obyu Holdings, on the other hand, disclosed that all the seized items belonged to DSN and his family. In the circumstances, there is really no way of knowing (then) who is the actual owner of the seized cash,” Liew submitted.

At the end of proceedings, Jamil fixed May 20 to deliver his decision on the government’s bid to forfeit the RM114 million allegedly linked to 1MDB.

Through the legal action, the government seeks to forfeit a total of allegedly 1MDB-linked RM680 million in cash, jewellery and other assets seized from the Pavilion Residences.

Obyu Holdings is the owner of the condo units from which the assets were seized in 2018.

Umno and Najib are among third-party claimants to part of the RM680 million, namely RM114 million in cash.

The other third-party claimants in the forfeiture suit are Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor and Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty Trading SAL.

However, the third-party claims by Rosmah and Global Royalty Trading have yet to be heard by the court.


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