Jho Low, the man behind the scenes of 1MDB, court told

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court here was told today that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low (picture) was the man behind the scenes of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Former 1MDB non-executive director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, 57, said he did not know in what capacity was Jho Low’s involvement in 1MDB, but the 1MDB directors always received Jho Low’s emails, which detailed various suggestions for them to execute.

“What I and the 1MDB Board of Directors (BOD) know is that Jho Low has a very good relationship with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. It was because of the good relationship between Jho Low and Najib that the 1MDB’s BOD  tended not to ignore his proposals,” he added.

Ismee, who is the 13th prosecution witness said this when reading out his 111-page witness statement at  Najib’s corruption and money laundering trial, involving RM2.3 million belonging to 1MDB.

He said he first met Jho Low at the appointment of members of the steering committee of the Terengganu Investment Board (TIA) at Istana Terengganu in early 2009.

TIA was a strategic investment company, which was later known as 1MDB.

He said he did not know in what capacity was Jho Low present at the ceremony and initially thought that he was an adviser to the Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

It was during the meetings that he came to realise that Jho Low was Najib’s adviser at the TIA Steering Committee as he always addressed the prime minister as ‘boss’, he said, adding that Jho Low’s  appointment was not documented after TIA changed its name to 1MDB.

He also told the court that  Jho Low joined Najib, who was on an official trip, to Abu Dhabi to see a model of  mosque that would  be built in Malaysia on a joint venture between Aabar and 1MDB.

“On one occasion, during the Haj season, Jho Low helped to obtain an additional 10,000 haj quota for Malaysians,” he added.

Najib, 68, is facing four charges, namely using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.