Jho Low gave ‘letters from Saudi Arabia’ to stop 1MDB probe, court told

Documents linked to 1MDB being brought into the High Court today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak’s former special officer told the former prime minister’s 1MDB trial today that Low Taek Jho had given him letters, allegedly from the Saudi Arabian government, to close the matter if any investigation were to be initiated into the sovereign fund four years ago.

Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, in testifying against his former boss, said the fugitive businessman wanted the alleged letters to be used as assurance to close the investigations into Petro Saudi International.

“Jho Low gave me and Datuk Seri’s principal private secretary, Azlin Alias, the letters in early 2015 as part of the damage control after the 1MDB issue was widely reported in the New York Times, Sarawak Report and Wall Street Journal,” he said in his witness statement.

Amhari also told the High Court that a special task force had been set up in 2015 to probe 1MDB.

The task force consisted of then attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, then inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, then Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed, and then Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Amhari also said Jho Low had given him and Azlin the letters in question so they could be prepared to explain the 1MDB issue to the public.

“He also asked us to destroy the letters so the letters could not be spread, but I did not do so. I am not sure if Azlin followed Jho Low’s instructions to destroy them,” he added.

Azlin died alongside five other individuals in April 2015, in a helicopter crash in Semenyih.

Today, Amhari also identified five alleged letters that were tendered in court.

The documents were a letter from the Saudi Arabian embassy here, another from its ambassador, one from a Saudi bank, a letter of support from Helvetica Wealth Management Partners, and a letter from US bank JP Morgan stating support for Petro Saudi.

“I believe the letters were original, but based on what I went through and saw until today, I can say that they could have been planned by Jho Low,” he said.

“He has a modus operandi where he will put his people in various positions to execute a certain agenda.”

Amhari also told the court it was possible that Azlin had known about the US$680 million (RM2.6 billion) in funds deposited in Najib’s account.

“Between January and February 2015, Azlin was looking stressed and raised his voice loudly to say: ‘Duit 1MDB lah bro!’.

“He also threw a file on the desk. I remember this clearly because I never saw him raise his voice at anyone,” Amhari said, adding that Azlin had met Najib once prior to his outburst.

Najib is currently standing trial on 25 charges of power abuse and money laundering over alleged 1MDB funds in his bank account.

Amhari will continue to give his testimony before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah tomorrow.