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Report: Bank’s board briefed on deposits into Najib’s account

 | November 13, 2017

AmBank CEO was instructed to report the matter to Bank Negara after the company’s full board was briefed about the transactions in late 2014.

ambank-1mdbPETALING JAYA: Members of AmBank’s board were in the know about large quantities of money deposited into the accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2013, according to Australian broadcasting agency SBS.

It said the full 12-man board had been briefed about the matter on multiple occasions between September and November 2014, but was not aware then of the source of the funds.

Following the briefing, then-CEO Ashok Ramamurthy, who had been seconded by the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) to head AmBank, was directed to report the transactions to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), it added.

ANZ, the largest shareholder in AmBank with a 24% stake, had the right to appoint key management positions at the Malaysian bank and occupy four seats on the board, it added.

“In late 2015, AmBank was fined more than A$16 million (RM50 million) by the Malaysian banking regulator for non-compliance with anti-money laundering reporting obligations involving the account of an unnamed ‘politically exposed person’,” the report said.

On Sept 6 last year, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that transactions amounting US$680 million (RM2.85 billion at present exchange rate) related to 1MDB had been deposited into Najib’s accounts in 2013.

The Malaysian government later said the money was a political donation from a member of the Saudi royal family, and the bulk of the money was returned.

WSJ however disputed the assertion, relying on court documents filed by the US Department of Justice.

Najib himself, who was until last year the chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board, has denied any wrongdoing and was cleared by Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali last January.

The SBS report also said ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott had told an Australian parliamentary inquiry in October last year that the allegations surrounding AmBank revolved around 1MDB.

He said ANZ had no relationship with 1MDB, and none of its workers had any involvement in the company or the related occurrences at AmBank.

He added that staff seconded to AmBank were no longer ANZ employees.

In May this year, PPBM chairman and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly accused Australia of neglecting to take action against ANZ, one of the country’s biggest banks, for possible complicity in the transactions.

“They (ANZ) hold a big share in that bank and that bank (AmBank) is involved in practically money laundering, so I think Australia should show some interest,” the SBS had quoted Mahathir as saying.

“Australia has been involved to a certain extent but it looks as if the government of Australia wants to avoid any involvement in this crime committed,” he added.

ANZ says it had no power over AmBank

Zeti says Bank Negara powerless to act against 1MDB

Why is BNM silent on allegations against AmBank, bankers


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