Ex-CFO: 1MDB’s US$3b debt partially used for ‘donations’ to two 1Malaysia foundations

KUALA LUMPUR : A debt of US$3 billion that a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary took on was never used for its original intended purpose of funding a joint venture, but was instead used for unrelated purposes such as payments to “donate” to two 1Malaysia foundations, the High Court heard today.

Former 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir said he believed that the donations to Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia and Kelab Kebajikan 1Malaysia Pulau Pinang were based on instructions from then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Azmi said this while testifying as the 12th prosecution witness in a trial where former prime minister Najib is facing 25 charges over more than RM2 billion of allegedly misappropriated funds from 1MDB.

Back in March 2013, 1MDB subsidiary 1MDB Global Investments Limited (1MDB GIL) issued a bond for a US$3 billion sum with a 4.4 per cent interest until 2023, with the funds intended for a planned joint venture between 1MDB and Aabar Investments PJS in an envisioned government-to-government deal between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.

It is now known however that 1MDB had dealt with fake companies with names strikingly similar to the Abu Dhabi firm Aabar.

Although 1MDB GIL had taken on the US$3 billion debt, it did not receive the full sum and only saw US$2.721 billion entering its account in BSI Bank, Lugano, Switzerland on March 19, 2013, as the rest went to paying the service charges and fees of bond arranger Goldman Sachs.

Azmi today then confirmed how money kept flowing out of 1MDB GIL’s bank account to 14 entities to the tune of US$2.8 billion within just a matter of months after the US$2.721 billion was received, and all for purposes unrelated to the planned joint venture between 1MDB and Aabar in the joint venture firm Abu Dhabi Malaysia Investment Company (Admic).

Where the US$2.7b flowed to

Based on 1MDB GIL bank statements from March 14, 2013 to April 21, 2015, Azmi confirmed a total of 14 recipients which received money paid out of 1MDB GIL, with the first being a transfer totalling US$100,000,101 or over US$100 million to Kelab Kebajikan 1Malaysia Pulau Pinang between the period of March 25 to April 29, 2013.

“The purpose this money was transferred is as donations to Kelab Kebajikan 1Malaysia Pulau Pinang on Datuk Azlin’s orders which I believe to be Datuk Seri Najib’s orders,” he said, referring to the late Datuk Azlin Alias who was a senior officer in the Prime Minister’s Department who later went on to become Najib’s principal private secretary.

Former 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir said he believed that the donations to Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia and Kelab Kebajikan 1Malaysia Pulau Pinang were based on instructions from then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic). ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Former 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir said he believed that the donations to Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia and Kelab Kebajikan 1Malaysia Pulau Pinang were based on instructions from then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic). ― Picture by Hari Anggara

Azmi also confirmed US$105,000,101.30 or more than US$105 million being transferred from 1MDB GIL to Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia between March 25 to May 2, 2013, also saying that this was a donation on Azlin’s instructions which he believed to be Najib’s instructions.

“Besides that, Datuk Seri Najib is a trustee of this foundation,” he said.

Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed had today raised objections on alleged hearsay at various points Azmi’s testimony, including when Azmi referred to alleged instructions from Azlin.

The trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes this afternoon, with Azmi expected to continue testifying.

By : IDA LIM – MALAY MAIL

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