Najib’s blessing needed before any moves in 1MDB operations ­— Jasmine Loo

KUALA LUMPUR — A former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) general counsel told the High Court today that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s (picture) blessing was needed before any moves made in 1MDB operations, as he held three important positions in the company.

Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, 50, said it was a practice, even before she joined the company where everything needed to be referred to Najib, who held the position of the prime minister, finance minister as well as 1MDB’s chairman of the Board of Advisors (CBOA), before any project could be taken on by 1MDB.

“It was a practice in 1MDB for everything to be referred to Datuk Seri Najib first. In substance, it was decision of one individual that makes all these decisions,” said Loo.

However, Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said there was a distinction between his client’s three roles and Loo, as a general counsel, should have known that Najib as a CBOA couldn’t come to a decision without referring it first to the 1MDB board of directors.

“Instead, you purposely ignore this because you were a part of a conspiracy to hoodwink 1MDB,” said Muhammad Shafee.

Loo disagreed with Muhammad Shafee’s suggestion and reiterated that Najib, as the prime minister of Malaysia, the finance minister, as well as the CBOA, was the same individual, and his one approval would be the approval of all three roles.

“By the time I joined 1MDB, that was already the practice and we had been relying on professional company secretarial advisers. If they had other different opinions they would have done it that way,” she said.

Further questioned by the lawyer, Loo also disagreed with the testimony made by former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner during Roger Ng’s 1MDB trial in the New York court on how she was the key component who connected fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho to the company.

Muhammad Shafee: Are you aware that he said you were appointed basically to legalise documents of what is in fact, illegal?

Loo: I am not aware.

Muhammad Shafee then proceeded to read an excerpt of Leissner’s testimony in the New York court where the former banker stated Loo was unhappy at the amount of money she was about to receive from the 1MDB scheme as it was inadequate, and to this, Loo said: I do not agree to any of the statements he made”.

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. — BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE