Impossible for me to conspire against Najib - Jasmine Loo

05 Apr 2024 04:06pm
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for his 1MDB trial. - Photo by Bernama
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for his 1MDB trial. - Photo by Bernama
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KUALA LUMPUR - Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad general counsel denied in the High Court here today that she was part of an inner circle together with 1MDB management team to conspire against Datuk Seri Najib Razak to embezzle money from the government-run strategic development company.

Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, 50, said it was like digging her own grave for her to conspire with former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi against the then prime minister and Minister of Finance.

She said this during a re-examination by Deputy Public Prosecutor Deepa Nair Thevaharan at Najib's trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.

On another question by Thevaharan, Loo said even though she was aware that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho had a habit of name-dropping, she believed the man when Jho Low represented himself as a spokesperson for Najib because everything he said would usually be supported by subsequent events afterwards.

"For instance during a meeting in London in 2011, Jho Low told me beforehand that Najib would be there and that we (1MDB management) should prepare the necessary documents for the additional US$1 billion loan.

"This was also what Shahrol instructed me to do and Jho Low also told me the same thing and subsequently the transaction happened," she said.

Loo also told the court that Najib had cleared her of wrongdoings in 1MDB in 2027 after she was called to give a statement to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the police in 2016.

"Eventually, only BNM recorded my statement, but no action was taken against me by both authorities in 2016.

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"For that, I believe Najib had cleared me. I recall seeing a news article where Najib responded to a question in Parliament in his capacity as the Finance Minister then that the investigation on me and Casey Tang (another 1MDB executive) was completed and we have been removed from BNM watchlist," she said.

The 50th prosecution witness was referring to a media report on March 8, 2017, regarding Najib's response to a written question by an opposition party member, former Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen.

Najib, in a written reply, stated that Loo and Casey Tang had been removed from the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) watchlist and this action was taken following the completion of the investigations by the authorities.

"For your information, the investigation involving the two individuals has been completed and based on its outcome, enforcement action was taken against the company according to existing laws with consent from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), whereby BNM issued a compound letter to the 1MDB administration for failing to fully adhere to the order issued under the Exchange Control Act 1953,” Najib was quoted as saying in the written parliamentary reply to Wong.

However, Najib's counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah objected to this and said both Loo and Tang were removed from the BNM watchlist because the central bank had issued a compound against 1MDB.

"The police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission did not clear her,” said the lawyer.

Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position (as prime minister) to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on April 22. - BERNAMA