Difficult to get Saudi royal family to testify over RM2.6 billion donation, says Najib

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) today told the High Court here that it would be difficult for the defence to get a member of the Saudi royal family to testify about the RM2.6 billion donation, which he had purportedly received between 2011 and 2014.

The 67-year-old former prime minister said this when asked during cross-examination by deputy public prosecutor Datuk V.Sithambaram if any member of the royal family would be called to court to confirm the matter.

Sithambaram: I put it to you, from day one, that you knew as a fact these monies never came from the Saudi royal family.

Najib: I disagree…because some of the monies directly came from the Saudi Ministry of Finance.

Sithambaram: Unfortunately, no member of the Saudi royal family would come to court and confirm this, correct, Sir

Najib: Well, it is difficult to have them come to court.

At this point, Sithambaram said it was also convenient for the accused not to call them to court to maintain his story to which Najib disagreed.

To another question, the former finance minister said he did not know who was the owner of Tanore Finance Corporation, the party named as the receiver for the US$620 million (RM2.2 billion) funds that the former premier had returned.

Najib said, in fact, he did not check whether the owner of the company was a royal family member of Saudi Arabia or rather because Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low, was a conduit to the royal family.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that Tanore does not belong to the Saudi royal family.

Najib: I cannot confirm.

Sithambaram: In hindsight, instead of asking Jho Low to whom the money was sent, would it not be more prudent to check with the donor

Najib: I did not check because Jho Low was the conduit of the royal family.

Sithambaram: It is a very large sum of money. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to check with the person who wrote you the letter

Najib: No, because Jho Low was nominated by the royal family…because he was dealing with Prince Al Turki (Prince Faisal Al Turki) at that time.

Sithambaram: How do you personally know this as a fact Did the royalty put both of you in a room and told you that Jho Low is their nominee

Najib: No…I know it as a fact.

Sithambaram: Do you agree that Jho Low is associated with Tanore

Najib: According to the report, but I cannot confirm.

Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.

The trial before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.