1MDB-PSI JV a failure, Court told


The High Court was today told that the joint-venture deal between 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) in 2009 was a failure.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of 1MDB Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi (picture), 49, agreed to this when questioned by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 31st day of the former premier’s 1MBD trial.

For the record, in the joint-venture agreement which was signed on Sept 28, 2009, 1MDB ended up pumping in US$1 billion for a 40 per cent stake in the company while the PetroSaudi Holdings Cayman ( a company which was purportedly a subsidiary of PSI) injected its so-called assets worth US$108 million for a 60 per cent stake.

To another question, the ninth prosecution witness disagreed that he was part of a conspiracy to put Najib in a compromised position.

Muhammad Shafee: You are like the Malays put it “cuba menegak benang basah” (to make a wet string upright and straight), it is clear on your part in the conspiracy to put the PM (Najib) in a compromised position.

Shahrol Azral: I disagree.

Earlier, Shahrol Azral was grilled over the alleged fact that the minutes of the meeting dated July 21, 2010, between the witness and Najib was already prepared beforehand by Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the chief investment officer (CIO).

Muhammad Shafee: Nik Faisal already prepared the meeting minutes on July 21, 2010, before that, he must have a special talent to be able to know what is going to happen.

Shahrol Azral: I cannot guess how that happened, but this may be due to earlier discussions before the meeting took place.

Muhammad Shafee: You are just guessing

Shahrol Azral: Yes, the same way you guessed Nik Faisal has a special talent.

Muhammad Shafee replied that he was not guessing but his inference came from what was documented before.

The witness also replied in negative to Muhammad Shafee´s suggestion that he could be part of the conspiracy with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low and Nik Faisal.

Further pressed by Muhammad Shafee, the witness admitted that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) was not informed about the US$700 million remitted into Jho Low’s Good Star Ltd during a meeting between the central bank and 1MDB representatives in 2010.

Shahrol Azral said at that time they (1MDB) were still under the impression that Good Star was part of PSI.

Najib, 66, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The hearing before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues, with senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution.