Prince Saud wanted to give Najib US$800mil to promote Islam, court told

(FMT) – The High Court hearing Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial was told today that an individual known as “Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud” wanted to give the former prime minister a sum of US$800 million in 2013 to promote moderate Islam.

Defence counsel Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohamed said Saud had written a letter to Najib dated March 1, 2013, in which he said was “impressed (by) significant work” Najib had done in governing Malaysia according to Islamic principles and reintroducing the religion to the world.

“Do you know anything about this letter,” Wan Aizuddin asked when cross-examining the head of Ambank’s private banking capital market desk, Yap Wai Keat.

Yap, who is a witness in Najib’s 1MDB trial, said he could not recall if he had seen Saud’s letter.

“Joanna might have given (it to) me (in 2013),” he said, referring to the time he executed Najib’s foreign currency deposit.

Yap was referring to Najib’s former Ambank relationship manager, Joanna Yu, who is also scheduled to testify in the case.

The court was told that between March and April 2013, a sum of US$681 million from a Singaporean entity known as Tanore Finance Corporation entered Najib’s account.

However, a few months later, Najib transferred the sum of the US$620 million back to Tanore Finance.

In their opening statement on Aug 29, 2019, the prosecution claimed that “sham documents were produced to pretend a donation (had been received) from an Arab prince” after the 1MDB scandal broke out seven years ago.

Yap also said he had executed the US$620 million transfer from Najib’s account.

He told the court that he left Ambank in 2014, before the 1MDB special task force launched their probe against the bank.

“I don’t know what the investigation was about except from what I read in the news,” he said, adding that he rejoined Ambank in 2017.

Najib is standing trial on 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.

The former prime minister, who was taken to Kajang prison to serve his sentence over the SRC corruption case from Aug 23, was present in court today.

The hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.