1MDB CEO says he was coached what to say by Rahman Dahlan

(FMT) – Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the High Court here today that he had been coached to downplay the roles of former prime minister Najib Razak and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho in the government-linked company.

He said this was done by people close to Najib when he was questioned by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) between 2010 and 2016.

Shahrol, who is the ninth prosecution witness, said Low, popularly known as Jho Low, gave him talking points ahead of a PAC meeting in 2010.

“He also arranged for me to meet two Barisan Nasional PAC members before the session,” he said when examined by ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram.

“One of them was Abdul Rahman Dahlan, on what type of questions would be asked by the PAC members.”

He said he was questioned on the roles of Najib and Jho Low in the 1MDB decision-making process.

“Basically, I was to insulate both of them,” he added.

He also spoke of a second PAC meeting in 2015 which 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy asked him to skip.

“Arul told me this was on the instruction of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),” he said, adding that he then went to Singapore for a one-day holiday.

Shahrol said he attended subsequent meetings, but had to meet Najib’s image branding officer, Farid Redzuan, first.

“There was a series of meetings with Farid, both before and after the sessions with PAC,” he said.

During these meetings, he said, some PAC members including its chairman Hasan Arifin were also present.

“It was to prepare me to discuss what was to be contained in the final PAC report,” he said.

He said Hasan also had a high-level meeting, the message of which was that there was a political attack against Najib in relation to 1MDB.

Shahrol, who was a 1MDB board member until 2016, said he had attended five out of six interviews with MACC and the police between 2014 and 2015.

“The police questioning centred on the conduct of the 1MDB board,” he said.

He reiterated that Jho Low had given him the talking points before he met with the police and MACC investigators.

“Jho Low gave me a briefing to downplay his and Najib’s involvement in 1MDB and SRC International.”

Shahrol also said he was guided to inform investigators that the attacks against Najib were politically motivated.

Najib is facing 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds.

He is accused of abusing his position to obtain RM2.28 billion in bribes in February 2011 and December 2014.

He is also said to have transferred RM2.28 billion in illegal funds to his bank accounts and to have subsequently used the money.

The hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah has been adjourned to Oct 7.