Former prime minister Najib Razak says he only discovered the matter after statutory declarations by the family of ex-Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz to Singapore police went viral.
PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak said he was not informed about former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s husband, Tawfiq Ayman, allegedly receiving money from Low Taek Jho (Jho Low).
“At that time, I was still prime minister, but neither the former governor, BNM, nor any other government agency told me about it,” Najib said in a Facebook post today.
Najib was commenting on a BNM statement yesterday, which said that it had received information from a foreign financial intelligence unit regarding the husband of a former BNM governor.
He said he only discovered the matter after statutory declarations by Zeti’s family members to Singapore police went viral at the end of 2020.
He said that if what BNM said was true, then the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional-led (PN) governments already had information on Zeti, who is a key witness in his SRC and 1MDB trials.
“Why did the PH and PN governments still appoint Zeti as a member of the Council of Eminent Persons as well as the chairman of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) in charge of a RM360 billion fund?” he asked.
He also questioned the prosecution for not providing this information to his defence lawyers.
“In fact, the prosecution denied having any information on the former governor and an ex-minister who allegedly received money from 1MDB amounting to RM85 million,” he said.
The BNM statement was in response to the testimony by former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner in a US federal court that the central bank approved an “overnight” foreign exchange transfer of US$1 billion from 1MDB to PetroSaudi International (PSI) after Zeti’s husband had allegedly been bribed to “make it happen”.
Leissner, the star witness in the trial of Roger Ng, former Goldman head of investment banking in Malaysia, described the overnight transfer of the US$1 billion from 1MDB to PetroSaudi as “unprecedented”.
BNM said all submissions made by 1MDB, including the funds transfer application, were subject to the same approval criteria and internal governance process that the central bank applied to other entities.
Today, Tawfiq denied the allegation by Leissner that he received “bribes” to facilitate the transfer of US$1 billion out from Malaysia.
He said he was shocked by the claims made in the US court, adding that he did not know both Leissner and Ng.