KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was told today that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) did not raise any objection to Najib Razak returning US$620 million to a Singaporean entity 10 years ago.
Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu said she had not heard anything to suggest that BNM would prevent the funds from being moved back to Tanore Finance Corp.
The court heard that the Singaporean entity had, between March 21 and April 10, 2013, deposited US$681 million to Najib’s bank account.
The sum of US$620 million was returned by the former prime minister to Tanore in August of the same year.
Yu said she was informed that some of her former colleagues went to meet BNM officers over the intended return of funds to Tanore.
However, she did not know what transpired during the meeting.
She also said fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, had told her on July 8, 2014 a sum of RM27 million was to be deposited into Najib’s account on that day.
She said Low had texted her saying, “Eagle 27 has left Permai, enroute to 1MY”.
Describing Low’s message as “mysterious”, lead defence counsel Shafee Abdullah asked: “What does Jho Low mean by ‘Eagle 27’?”
Yu said Low had told her previously that “eagle” was a reference to the ringgit.
The message was to inform her that a sum of RM27 million was to be deposited into Najib’s account, she said.
“He (Low) said it was a donation from Permai (Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd) and was sent on behalf of ‘His Royal Highness’,” she said.
Shafee then told her the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) recorded Low’s statement on Nov 27, 2015 in UAE for investigation purposes.
“He denied talking to you on BBM (BlackBerry messenger) and he (said) he had nothing to do with the (former) prime minister’s accounts. Are you surprised?” he asked.
Yu said she was surprised to learn about Low’s statement.
Najib is facing 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited in his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.
The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.