Agent did not testify saying Najib was involved, only that money landed in his account
By Lim Sian See
A few people have messaged me asking for my opinion on the Mkini story (since picked up by other media) that an FBI officer told the USA courts that US$756mil of 1MDB related money was transferred into Najib’s account.
Actually, this story is nothing new as the same headlines of “RM3b entered Najib’s accounts” have been in circulation in Malaysian media since the year 2018.
Here’s a hypothetical simplified scenario. Those who have been following the 1MDB/SRC trial would immediately understand:
You are a social worker.
Your friend tells you that a wealthy businessman really supports your work and wants to contribute to your work.
You go talk to the businessman together with your friend and the businessman confirms he wants to contribute.
Initially, your friend gives you RM5,000 which he received from the businessman.
Your friend then robs a bank.
From that loot, he then deposits this RM26,000 into your account which your friend tells you is also from the businessman.
Should you then be accused of being complicit in the bank robbery or be labelled a bank robber?
That’s why it is important that context be given to why money was deposited into your account and not just based on “money was deposited into your account.”
In Najib’s case, Jho Low arranged for Najib to visit and talk to King Abdullah during the Arab Spring time and the late King said he really supports Najib and wants to contribute to Najib so that the ruling party continues to rule in order to ensure stability in a friendly country. Najib was told that the King will give up to US$1 billion.
Why would King Abdullah give so much money? Well, he has done it before.
Incidentally, the Swiss courts today found that the former King of Spain did not commit any wrongdoing for receiving US$100mil (which the Spanish King spent on himself and his mistress) from King Abdullah at the same time as Najib started receiving money from Saudi.
It is beyond doubt that at least RM642mil was received from Arab sources including directly from the bank accounts belonging to the Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia – as confirmed by SWIFT statements, Ambank and also the MACC.
The problem is that subsequent to that, US$681mil (the infamous RM2.6b) was also then transferred in March/April 2013 prior to GE13 into Najib’s account which Jho Low also told him was from King Abdullah.
Najib Returned The Money
Najib then returned most of it to the sender’s account about five months later after the elections.
(In most media, you will read that Najib received US$681mil but then returned only US$620mil – implying that Najib kept US$61mil.)
This is not true.
When Najib received the money, it was immediately converted from US Dollars to Ringgit when the exchange rate was US$1=RM3.00 but when Najib returned the same funds in his bank account to the sender in August 2013, the Ringgit had depreciated 10% to US$1 = RM3.30.
Therefore his Ringgit balance could only buy US$620mil, which he returned.
In his testimony, the FBI agent also confirmed that Najib returned this US$620mil to sender.
Meaning that out of the US$756mil, US$681mil (in ringgit terms) was indeed returned – leaving about US$75mil to be disputed.
Now compare this to what the FBI agent also said:
- Jho Low stole US$1.42 billion
- Khadem al-Qubaisi of IPIC took US$472.8mil
- Mohd Al Badawy of Aabar took $76.6mil
- Tim Leissner took US$73.4mil
- Roger Ng took US$35.1mil
- 16 other unidentified people (presumably the 1MDB and govt officials) also took unspecified amount of money.
So then how can Najib be the mastermind of 1MDB and stole billions if Najib’s “share” was less than so many others and Najib did not use those money for personal gain or hid any of it overseas – unlike those on the FBI’s list?
Money In Najib’s Account For Election Use
It is important to also note that the FBI agent said the money went into Najib’s account and he said it was purportedly for elections use – which is exactly what King Abdullah wanted which is to preserve Najib’s win and the country’s political stability.
The FBI agent never said Najib stole the money nor used it for personal use.
Unlike Guan Eng and Syed Saddiq, this is why Najib was never charged for stealing money or misappropriation of funds but charged under AMLA – meaning money deemed illegal went in and out of his accounts.
So, you may say that Najib is stupid for being used or deceived by Jho Low.
But you must remember that the world’s largest investment bank which Najib relied on to structure the deals, raise the funds and disburse the funds also admitted responsibility and paid RM16.4 billion in settlements to the Malaysian govt.
And the Ambank which Najib relied on to ensure the funds he received were legitimate also admitted responsibility when one of their officers collaborated with Jho Low to hide the account transactions from Najib and paid RM2.83 billion in settlements to the govt.
World famous KPMG and Deloittes which Najib would have relied on to alert him or 1MDB if there was anything wrong with 1MDB’s accounts also failed to do their job and paid RM350mil EACH as settlements.
And more damningly, it was later revealed that the former BNM Governor’s family had known Jho Low for years and had received at least RM700mil from Jho Low to hide in overseas accounts.
It was her that advised Najib to open a bank account in his own name and it was her that Najib instructed to monitor his bank accounts for suspicious transactions related to the receipt of funds overseas.
The agency under her was also responsible to approve fund transfers by 1MDB to overseas accounts which we later found out was wrongly approved to be transferred to fake offshore accounts within record time and the funds become lost.
We also later found out that her husband was business partner and jointly own a company with one Samuel Goh who admitted in the Singapore courts that he was paid US$4mil to set-up all those fake offshore accounts for 1MDB to transfer funds to.
If this former governor had done her job, no suspicious transactions would have entered Najib’s accounts. Heck, Najib would never even have specifically opened a bank account to receive those foreign funds.
If this former governor had done her job, none of 1MDB’s money would have gone missing as the agency would have blocked all those foreign transfers to fake accounts by 1MDB.
But most strangely is that despite her key role and former AG Tommy declaring that “it is public knowledge that Zeti and her husband facilitated Jho Low in 1MDB”, investigations on her and her family seems to be proceeding at a super-slow pace – in fact, this issue was hidden from public for so many years until it was first raised in public in late 2020. – New Malaysia Herald
About the writer: Lim Sian See is a social media content writer. The points expressed in the article are those of the writer’s and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.