NAJIB TRIAL | The High Court here today was told that the chief executive officer (CEO) of PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) Tarek Obaid (above) had instructed that US$83 million (RM343 million) be transferred into his personal account after PSI received US$500 million (RM2.06 billion) from the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in Sept 2010.
Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said this when he was referred to a document shown by Najib Razak's lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 32nd day of the former premier's trial.
Muhammad Shafee: US$500 million have gone into PSI. About a week later, he (Tarek) instructed US$82 million from the amount, to be transferred into his personal account?
Shahrol Azral: Yes, into his personal account.
According to another document, Tarek also issued instructions to his personal banker to then transfer the amount from his account to Good Star Ltd, a company that belonged to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low (below).
The ninth prosecution witness, who has been on the stand from Sept 23, said that he did not know about the particular fund transaction as he has no access to the account.
Muhammad Shafee: So, you cannot confirm how the money was utilised?
Shahrol Azral: Yes. I cannot confirm
In further explanation, the 49-year-old witness said when he was investigated by the authority, he was only shown the "high-level" money trail from 1MDB which went to Jho Low-linked companies such as Good Star Ltd and Aabar BVI entities.
"Only the high-level trail, not the specific details and mechanics," he said.
Later, when going through one of the documents shown to him, Shahrol Azral drew Muhammad Shafee’s attention to a US$17,000 (RM70,320) expenditure incurred by Tarek and charged to PSI. The US$17,000 was used as payment for Starbucks coffee.
"That is a lot of money for coffee," lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram was heard saying in jest.
Najib, 66, faces 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 hearing before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues, with senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution.