Court rejects Najib’s bid to postpone 1MDB trial

The defence is seeking documents and testimony from the US for information on the alleged bribery of 1MDB officials by Leissner and Goldman Sachs

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE Kuala Lumpur High Court has rejected Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) application to postpone his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial.

Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah earlier told the court that his client is seeking the names of 1MDB officials who allegedly received bribes from Goldman Sachs Group Inc and its former director Tim Leissner.

The application in the US court was filed on Nov 17, 2020.

Muhammad Shafee said the defence is seeking documents and testimony from the US for information on the alleged bribery of 1MDB officials by Leissner and Goldman Sachs.

High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, however, rejected the application for the postponement, but assured that the defence would be given opportunity and leeway to recall witnesses if needed upon discovery from the US court.

Muhammad Shafee said the discovery of the names would be relevant to the 1MDB trial, including to show that witnesses lacked credibility and they were instrumental to the scheme laid by Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, at 1MDB.

“The defence could also show that Jho Low, Leissner and Goldman Sachs had been working in tandem in order to penetrate and corrupt 1MDB and using the money from the company for various purposes.

“Upon obtaining the relevant documents in the application, we also planned to recall several witnesses, including former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, the former special officer to the former premier to be cross-examined,” Muhammad Shafee said at the court yesterday.

He said the defence has asked Shahrol Azral and similarly another former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman on why they simply followed Jho Low’s instructions.

Najib is facing 25 charges in the 1MDB trial — four counts of power abuse to obtain gratifications totalling RM2.3 billion linked to 1MDB and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same proceeds.

The former prime minister faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, if convicted.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Shafee told reporters that Najib is expected to file a contempt action against former AG Tan Sri Tommy Thomas over the latter’s allegations in his recently-published book, “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”, which touched on the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.

He said a contempt application would most likely be filed this week.

“My client has not been implicated at all throughout the (Altantuya) case which had been decided upon up to the Federal Court level. His (Thomas) words are seen as scandalising the court.

“The defamation suit is definite, the contempt application is 98% completed and we are filing it this week. We have to give him (Thomas) a show-cause first,” he told the press after the 1MDB trial yesterday.

On Feb 2, Najib, in the letter of demand (LOD), sought an apology and RM10 million in damages from Thomas over allegations against him in the book.

Thomas responded to the LOD on Feb 5, denying having defamed Najib.


Read our previous report here

Najib fails to remove Sri Ram as leading prosecutor in 1MDB trial