Opinion: Why did Zeti deny knowing about the Saudi Kingdom donation?

So was Zeti Aziz, the former Bank Negara Malaysia honest about not knowing of the donation?

Those that are in banking & finance know it’s impossible for that money to pass through our banking system without the central bank being aware of it for 2 primary reasons:

1. The amount.
2. The recipient.

1. RM100m isn’t an ordinary transaction, what more RM2.6b
Any & all banks operating in Malaysia are required by banking regulation to report to the central bank about transactions that are out of the ordinary i.e suspicious.
Unless RM2.6b is transacted regularly in Najib’s account, which isn’t the case, the bank would’ve reported it to the central bank.

2. The recipient i.e Najib Razak is considered a PEP – Politically Exposed Person.
Accounts that belongs to PEPs get extra scrutiny, & any transaction deemed out of the ordinary will be put under the microscope.
Where did the money come from? Where is the money heading to? Purpose? Will all be looked into.

In fact, even to have an account opened, a PEP goes through a higher level of due diligence to ensure everything is above board as banks do not want to be accused of complicity or negligence, let alone fines by the regulators should there be suspicious or criminal activities connected to the account.

And these fines can be hefty.
For example, BNP had to pay USD8.9b for sanction violations & EUR10m for failing AML controls while HSBC was slapped with USD1.1b for AML breach.
Any bank will take these issues seriously & will not mess about with their KYC/CDD/AML controls.

With 1+2 i.e RM2.6b going into Najib’s account, we have a situation that will send the top man of the bank, any bank for that matter, scurrying to inform not just central bank, but the governor of the central bank. And these things are not taken lightly.

That’s how big this is so I don’t see how it’s possible for her to not know of it as how she asserted previously. For Zeti to feign lack of knowledge or ignorance of the donation, it suggests a conspiracy against Najib after all, if Najib is charged with money laundering, it seems that Zeti allowed the crime to happen!

Alex Nord, United Kingdom, is passionate about Malaysian Politics. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

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