1MDB trial: Four countries did not cooperate with request to record conversations — Witness

KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) senior superintendent told the High Court today that four countries did not cooperate when she applied to record conversations of bank witnesses in connection with the investigation into corruption and money laundering involving RM2.3 billion of funds belonging to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which is linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Nur Aida Ariffin, 37, said that Switzerland, Barbados, Hong Kong and the Netherlands did not provide any responses or feedback when she made the application through the Attorney-General in 2018 and 2019.

“Singapore was the only country that cooperated, with witness Kevin Michael Swampillai (PW44), the former Head of BSI Bank’s Fund Management Services (Singapore), providing evidence to the investigation team.

“Another witness from the same bank, Yak Yew Chee (former BSI Bank managing director), refused to testify in Malaysia,” she said when cross-examined by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who represented Najib.

When asked by Muhammad Shafee about Yak’s whereabouts, Nur Aida replied, “don’t know.”

In Nov 2016, Yak was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail and fined SG$24,000 by a Singapore court after he pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and two counts of failing to disclose suspicious transactions related to 1MDB.

Earlier, the 49th prosecution witness said the applications to record written conversations were made to Switzerland and Singapore on Aug 23, 2018, Barbados on March 6, 2019 and Hong Kong on Jan 22, 2019.

Nur Aida said that she contacted the five countries to validate the documents obtained by the prosecution through mutual legal assistance (MLA) to aid in the investigation of the case involving the former prime minister.

Najib, 70, is facing 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 trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. — BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE