Najib signed RM22m cheques using illegal funds including for Umno, publicity and social media, cop tells High Court in 1MDB trial

(MMO) – Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak personally signed five cheques totalling RM22.649 million for state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) using illegal funds in his personal AmIslamic bank account, the High Court was told today.

Testifying as the 48th prosecution witness, Assistant Commissioner Foo Wei Min, who is the investigating officer in charge of money-laundering investigations on Najib said the money originated from a 1MDB subsidiary 1MDB Global Investments Limited (1MDB GIL), for other purposes, such as for Umno.

Foo said Najib — who was at that time Umno president — also used these illegal funds through cheques to companies managing his social media accounts and his publicity internationally.

Najib is on trial over the misappropriation of 1MDB’s RM2.28 billion, alleged to have entered his two private AmIslamic accounts.

Based on multiple banking documents including Najib’s bank account’s statement, Foo testified that RM2.081 billion of funds which were the proceeds of unlawful activities — and which originated from 1MDB GIL — entered Najib’s AmIslamic account which had the code name “AmPrivate Banking-MR”.

Foo testified that the RM2.081 billion (equivalent to US$681 million then) were transferred by Tanore Finance Corp into Najib’s account in nine transactions between March 22, 2013 to April 10, 2013.

Out of the RM2.081 billion which Najib received, he then used RM22.649 million of the funds originally from the 1MDB unit by issuing five cheques to five different recipients in just one week’s time from August 1 to August 7, 2013.

“All those cheques were signed by Datuk Seri Najib himself,” Foo said of the cheques issued from Najib’s “AmPrivate Banking-MR” account.

Citing multiple banking documents, Foo said the five cheques using the unlawful funds were received by Umno, Umno’s Batu Kawan division, Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng, ORB Solutions Sdn Bhd and Semarak Konsortium Satu Sdn Bhd.

Foo said former Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah had verified that the political party had received a RM2 million cheque issued by Najib on August 1, 2013, and this amount was banked into the party’s CIMB account on August 2 the same year.

Foo said Batu Kawan Umno had on August 7, 2013 received RM100,000 in its Maybank account via Najib’s cheque issued the previous day, with the division chief Datuk Mohd Noor Ahmad confirming that he had personally received the cheque from Najib and had used the money for political purposes in the division.

Foo said that RM246,000 entered Lim’s CIMB bank account on August 7, 2013 on the same day the cheque was issued by Najib.

As for an August 7, 2013 cheque for RM2 million issued by Najib, it was banked into ORB Solutions Sdn Bhd’s Maybank account five days later.

Foo said the company’s director is Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

“ORB Solutions offered services for Datuk Seri Najib’s publicity on social media and online such as Datuk Seri Najib’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and personal blog,” he said.

He also commented on the RM2 million of illegal funds originating from 1MDB GIL.

“Money from 1MDB GIL was channelled to ORB Solutions as payment to build social media services online and also as payment for its maintenance.”

As for Semarak Konsortium Satu Sdn Bhd owned by Datuk Mohd Omar Mustapha, Foo said this company received RM303,000 in its Maybank account on August 13, 2013 via the August 6, 2013 cheque issued by Najib.

But as a whole, Semarak Konsortium Satu had received a total of RM22,981,688 or RM22.9 million in 39 cheques issued from Najib’s “AmPrivate Banking-MR” account between March 3, 2011 to April 23, 2014, Foo said.

“The purpose this money was paid to Semarak is to provide the services of international media team and speechwriters in English to Datuk Seri Najib,” Foo said, listing the international writers involved as including Paul Stadlen, Charlotte Carr, Alexander Marklew and Benedict Macon-Cooney.

“The total of unlawful funds that are proceeds from 1MDB GIL at the Tanore phase used by Datuk Seri Najib is RM22,649,000,” Foo said when commenting on all five cheques.

The Tanore phase is the third phase under the 1MDB scheme. A total of RM2.28 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB in four phases before allegedly being channelled to Najib.

A group of students known as ‘Gerakan Pulangkan Najib’ were seen outside the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex October 11, 2023. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Earlier this morning, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside the main gates of the Kuala Lumpur court complex to show support for Najib.

They held up a banner that read “Pulangkan Najib” (Return Najib) as well as placards with various messages.

Other placards include messages expressing support for Najib and carrying his moniker “Bossku”, while a placard stated that they miss Najib and claiming that university students are supporting him.

There were also placard messages questioning what the public would get out of imprisoning Najib.

Najib has been a prisoner for more than a year now, following his conviction in a separate trial involving the misappropriation of RM42 million of former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Naijb’s 1MDB trial before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes this afternoon.