KUALA LUMPUR: Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, “will be around” when Najib Razak was on official trips overseas, especially in New York and London, a witness in the 1MDB trial told the High Court.
Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who was special officer to the former prime minister from 2008 until last year, said he had seen the businessman at least two or three times when he was in Najib’s entourage.
He said Jho Low would be “hanging around” and he had personally seen him with Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor and the government entourage in New York and London.
“He will then go and meet the prime minister in his hotel room,” he said when re-examined by ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram today.
Amhari, the eighth prosecution witness, was testifying against Najib, who is facing 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds in his AmBank accounts.
Najib is accused of abusing his position to obtain RM2.28 billion in bribes in February 2011 and December 2014.
He is also said to have transferred RM2.28 billion in illegal funds to his bank accounts and to have subsequently used the money.
Amhari also said he did not warn Najib that Jho Low was a “confidence trickster” as the businessman was close to his boss.
“I had checked with Najib’s then confidential private secretary (Azlin Alias) that all the instructions Jho Low gave us had been endorsed earlier by Najib,” he said.
He said he also knew Jho Low as being very close to Rosmah and she would often call him.
“On one occasion at the Prince Hotel, she called Jho Low and I could identify it was Rosmah because she had a unique voice,” he said.
Amhari said Rosmah also spoke very fondly of Jho Low when Najib and his wife were at a pre-Hari Raya recording event.
The witness said he was not giving evidence against Najib to evade prosecution after having struck a deal with Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigators.
He said he had not utilised even a sen from US$800,000 deposited into a foreign bank account without his knowledge.
“Until today, I do not know what happened to the money,” he said.
Azlin and Amhari were asked by Jho Low to open two accounts with BSI Bank in Singapore in 2012
Amhari had earlier told the court the accounts were opened with the blessings of Najib for political purposes.
The hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Monday.