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RM5b bonds: M’sians suffered losses while Jho Low-linked firm benefited
Published on: Thursday, October 10, 2019
By: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: State-owned sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Social Security Organisation (Socso) and Malaysians suffered losses from the RM5 billion bonds in Islamic medium term notes (IMTN) issued by Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA).

Former 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said the issuance of the bonds, however, benefited a foreign company, Aktis Capital, which was linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

The ninth prosecution witness said this when cross-examined by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the defence counsel for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the 19th day of the former premier’s trial involving 1MDB funds.

Earlier, the lawyer read out a letter between AmBank and Aktis pertaining to a net amount of RM74.62 million payable to the latter.

“According to this letter, AmBank stated that Aktis had subscribed to the bonds at RM617 million, with the company then appointing AmBank as a placement agent, which had then helped the company dispose the bonds at par value, RM700 million, amounting to a trading gain of RM83 million.

“AmBank, miraculously, was able to sell it at face value and this process only benefited Aktis...who were the losers of this deal?” asked the lawyer. The witness responded: 1MDB.

Muhammad Shafee: Some people arranged in Aktis for the discounted sale, for Jho Low’s outfit to make money.

“Now who else lost? The Malaysians? Malaysians got screwed twice as the bonds were sold at a discount and then sold at a higher value to Malaysian institutions such as EPF, Socso, insurance companies and including AmBank?” proposed the lawyer. 

Shahrol Azral: Yes.

Najib, 66, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

Senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram led the prosecution team.

Meanwhile, the High Court heard that Najib’s facial expression was neutral when he was told that the then Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin was angry over the Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA) RM5 billion bonds issuance.

Shahrol Azral said he told the matter to the former premier when they met at the latter’s house in Langgak Duta, between 8pm and 9pm on May 22, 2009, the same day he met the Sultan at Istana Terengganu, here.

Muhammad Shafee: Did Datuk Seri Najib look baffled as to the fact that Sultan Mizan was angry?

Shahrol Azral: His (Najib) facial expression was neutral. I don’t recall any bafflement.

Previously, in his witness statement, Shahrol Azral said he was asked by Sultan Mizan to sign a TIA resolution to cancel the issuance of the bonds.

On Muhammad Shafee’s suggestion that this meant that Najib did not know then the reason why Sultan Mizan was angry, Shahrol Azral agreed.



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