According to ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak’s latest defense strategy, 1MDB management tricked him into agreeing to an investment deal with business partner, PetroSaudi International Limited (PSI).
The High Court hears from Najib’s defense lawyers and their witnesses on how the scam unfolded, without Najib feeling the fish business.
Ismee Ismail, a former non-executive director of 1MDB, said he agreed with Najib’s lead lawyer Shafee Abdullah’s suggestion that it was all a scam.
He also confessed that various members of management tricked Najib and the board into developing elaborate plans to invest in the deal.
Former general counsel Jasmine Loo, former chief financial officer Azmi Tahir, former chief executive Casey Tang and former CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, according to the lawyer, developed the ideas.
Questioning the witness, Najib’s attorney, Shafee said, “It’s 100% bullshit work. All proposals were developed by 1MDB management. It was a detailed fabrication by management.
The witness agreed, saying “yes”, to which the lead attorney asked the witness if the scam was a very detailed document convincing enough for counsel. “Do you agree with me?”
Explaining the conversion into Murabahah notes in more detail, Shafee told the court that 1MDB management had put on a “magic show”, whereby the sovereign wealth fund would get $1.2 billion on paper, but not the real money.
As for Ismee, he says from the testimony of Shahrol Azral (former CEO of 1MDB), “we learned that it was run by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, allegedly it was of Najib to do this (proposals).”
The lead attorney was referring to the deal whereby 1MDB agreed to convert its 40% stake in the 1MDB-PSI joint venture that it had purchased for US$1 billion into an Islamic loan to the same joint venture.
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The Islamic loan via Murabaha notes to the joint venture was valued at $1.2 billion.
The joint venture owes 1MDB US$1.2 billion following the conversion to Murabahah notes, essentially delivering 1MDB a paper profit of US$200 million after accounting for the initial US$1 billion.
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