KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak told the SRC International trial there was no need for former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah to go to Switzerland to check on alleged frozen SRC International funds by the Swiss government.
For the first time, Najib appeared to be agitated over the line of questioning by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, especially with regards to Husni and an account in a Swiss bank.
Najib told the High Court he was told that a “1MDB entourage” had already visited BSI Bank in Lugano, Switzerland, and that the group was satisfied with what it had found on the trip.
Previously, Husni had told the court that he met Najib to get his consent to fly to Switzerland in an attempt to solve the issue of frozen funds, believed to be from SRC International. He added that Najib had rejected his request.
Former SRC International chairman Ismee Ismail had testified that he and fellow directors had gone to Switzerland to seek confirmation that their RM1.5 billion deposit was safe at the bank there.
The court had heard during the trial that SRC International received a total loan of RM4 billion from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) between August 2011 and February 2012. The government guaranteed the company’s loans.
Thomas then pressed Najib on whether he had refused to let Husni go to Switzerland as the former prime minister was concerned that Husni might find out that the “money was stolen”.
“It’s not that. I want the money to come back to Malaysia, too,” Najib said.
He said he had never attempted to “limit” Husni’s involvement in 1MDB issues, adding that Husni was tasked with answering 1MDB-related questions in the Dewan Rakyat.
“He must have known about 1MDB affairs,” Najib said, over questions by the AG that he wanted to stop Husni from finding out anything.
When Thomas started to ask whether the RM4 billion fund had “vanished”, causing the company to have serious cash flow problems, Najib appeared agitated.
“SRC was given a directive to resolve this matter. I was shocked about it (RM4 billion) and we want the money back, of course,” he said.
Thomas then suggested to Najib that as the prime minister, until his fall from power in May 2018, he had not taken any measures to bring back SRC International’s money.
“Answer my question,” the AG said.
Najib, in trying to control his temper, responded by saying: “That does not mean the (frozen) money was not there.” He pointed out that the Swiss government had frozen the account.
He also maintained that SRC International was not in an insolvent state and that the company only had “cash flow problems”, despite repeated questions from Thomas as to whether SRC International’s RM4 billion loan needed to be written off.
“I do not agree and we have not come to that,” Najib said.
The hearing continues before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali on Dec 18.
Najib is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.
He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from KWAP.