I received US$1.05 bil for CSR projects, funding GE13, says Najib

(FMT) – Former prime minister Najib Razak told the High Court in his SRC International trial that he received a total sum of US$1.05 billion from 2011 to 2013 for “corporate social responsibility” purposes and to fund the 2013 general election.

Najib said he only knew about the transactions on the fund transfers into his Ambank account when he was questioned by Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) officers last year.

He said that part of the money he received in 2013 from Tanore Finance Corporation’s bank account was spent to ensure Barisan Nasional’s victory in the polls. BN won 133 seats out of the 222 parliamentary seats that year.

“This was to ensure political stability in the country, what the late King Abdullah had wished for.

“He (King Abdullah) did not want to see the Arab Spring effect spread to Malaysia because he held the view that Malaysia can be a role model for other Muslim countries,” he said in his witness statement.

Najib said earlier that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho had told him in 2010 that King Abdullah wanted to provide support for him in the form of a donation but the amount was not mentioned.

He said as then Umno president and BN chairman, he was given the power to collect donations for election expenses.

“This is something that previous Umno presidents and BN chairmen had done,” he said.

Najib also provided details on the nine transactions amounting to US$680.9 million that he received from Tanore, shortly before the May 5, 2013 polls, in his Ambank account, ending with the number 694.

He said he returned US$620 million to Tanore, a company he believed had links to the Saudi royal family, in August the same year.

“I felt uncomfortable to keep a large sum of money in my account and I was worried that if this information leaked out, it may be manipulated for political purposes,” he said, adding that the balance of US$120 million was moved to a new Ambank account during the same month.

In 2011, he said, he received almost US$100 million from Prince Faisal and the finance ministry in Riyadh, and in 2012, he obtained another US$270 million from Prince Faisal and Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partner.

He said the money was spent for CSR purposes and none was returned.

Najib said he only knew the US$1.05 billion came from Tanore, Prince Faisal, the finance ministry in Riyadh and Blackstone Asia when he was questioned by MACC, and after his lawyers obtained the bank documents from the authorities.

The former prime minister and finance minister is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

The hearing before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues on Monday.