Azmi denies meeting Jho Low off the road

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

FORMER 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) CFO, Azmi Tahir yesterday told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur that he did not meet fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low (picture) off the road, but believed that he was the representative of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak in 1MDB.

Azmi, 49, said this was because Jho Low was introduced to him by Najib’s late principal private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias. Azlin died in a helicopter crash on April 4, 2015.

He was being cross-examined as the 12th prosecution witness by Najib’s counsel, Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh at the former premier’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in funds from 1MDB.

Hariharan: As the then CFO, don’t you think it was inappropriate to take instructions from Jho Low who was not part of the company (1MDB)?

Azmi: No…because, the events leading to how I met him and all that, and what I believed and everyone else too. We thought he was legitimately representing Datuk Seri Najib. I didn’t meet him off the road somewhere, he was introduced by the late Azlin.

Azmi then testified on the meeting on Dec 15, 2013 at Najib’s residence with KPMG Malaysia, whereby the meeting was held as KPMG was dissatisfied with the inadequate explanations and documents provided in relation to the company’s huge investment of US$2.3 billion (RM9.64 billion) in an unknown fund, Bridge Global SPC, which was made through Brazen Sky Ltd, a special-purpose vehicle of 1MDB.

Azmi along with former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and former 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin were in attendance together with Jho Low and Najib.

Hariharan asked Azmi why he did not verify these transfers when he met Najib at the meeting and the witness said in hindsight, he should have, but did not think it was an appropriate forum to speak to Najib about it.

Hariharan: Wouldn’t it have been prudent to check on the transactions? Why didn’t you verify the matter with Najib? You should have asked Najib himself.

Azmi: It’s very convenient to say I should have walked up to the PM (Najib) and ask… I’m sorry, I don’t think it’s professional.

To another question, the witness agreed that Jho Low had benefitted from the movement of funds from 1MDB to his company, namely, Good Star Ltd.

Azmi, however, disagreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that he was part of Jho Low’s plan to misappropriate 1MDB funds.

He also said he had carried out any instruction from Jho Low without questioning him.

The trial before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today.