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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

LIVE | Pocketing RM42m from SRC: Najib guilty of all seven charges

Malaysiakini
LIVE | The verdict of the criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged abuse of power and money laundering of 1MDB funds will be delivered today at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings.
  • Accused did not confirm 'donation' with Saudis
  • Far-fetched to claim Najib conned by Jho Low, says judge
  • Najib didn't take action over non-return of RM42m, judge rules
  • Gathering of Najib's supporters sparks Covid-19 fears
  • Defence fails to beat abuse of power charge

12.17pm - The Kuala Lumpur High Court convicts Najib of seven counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering over RM42 million of SRC International funds.
Mohd Nazlan rules that the defence failed to raise reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case.
"I, therefore, find the accused guilty of all seven charges," Mohd Nazlan rules as Najib is seen calm in the dock.

Najib failed to raise reasonable doubt against 3 CBT charges
12.12pm - Mohd Nazlan rules that Najib failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case over three criminal breach of trust charges in relation to RM42 million transfer into his accounts. 

Najib didn't send King Abdullah 'thank you' note
11.52am - Mohd Nazlan notes that the accused did not send King Abdullah a "thank you" note despite having received monies amounting to RM2.6 billion (based on the exchange rate at the time) ostensibly from the monarch. 

Accused did not confirm 'donation' with Saudis
11.50am - The accused did not ask government officials, especially those in the Prime Minister's Department, to verify with their Saudi counterparts regarding the validity of the "donation".
"Regardless of (which) segment of the Arab royalty (was involved) and the accused's confidence in Jho Low, the accused failed to confirm on the (veracity of the) donation from King Abdullah (made the defence argument) improbable," rules the judge.
Mohd Nazlan also believes that the letters claiming that the accused was to receive a "donation" from the Saudi royal family were defective.
The judge notes that the accused's testimony shows that the latter did not know the author (a prince) and if the prince is related to King Abdullah.
"The letters took great pain to say the donation is not corruption. Yet the accused, as the prime minister of a country, did not see (that it was) prudent to check and verify (the authenticity of) the letters," rules the judge. 

All roads lead to Riyadh?
11.45am - Mohd Nazlan now rules on the defence's claim that the accused thought the money in his AmBank Islamic accounts were a "donation" from the Saudi royal family.
The judge begins this section of his ruling by quipping: "All roads lead to Rome and (the accused) led it to Riyadh."
Although King Abdullah met the accused in Riyadh, the judge rules there was no evidence that the king stated any intention to provide financial assistance to the accused or Malaysia.
The judge rules that it was only later that Jho Low informed the accused of King Abdullah's wish to donate.
"(This was) not consistent with what King Abdullah told (the accused) in Riyadh," says the judge. 

Supporters begin to disperse after warning from cops
11.45am - The group of Najib supporters who have gathered in front of the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex begins to disperse.
This follows several warnings by the police earlier over the adherence of Covid-19 prevention guidelines.
A supporter who is still waiting says many of them have gone for lunch.

Far-fetched to claim Najib conned by Jho Low, says judge
11.35am - Mohd Nazlan rules that Jho Low fully understood his role and that there was no doubt that he was dealing with the former prime minister's bank accounts.
He rules that it was too far fetched to suggest that the then prime minister can fall victim to a scam by Jho Low.
"It is too far fetched and self-serving to say (the accused was) conned by Jho Low," rules the judge.
11.30am - On the accused's written instructions to AmBank Islamic, the judge notes that the defence submitted that the accused was unaware of it.
The judge then notes that the investigation officer testified that there was no denial by the accused on the signature of the documents.
He also notes that the defence never challenged it before the commencement of the trial.
"Most importantly, the defence has not offered expert evidence that the accused's signature was forged," says the judge. 

Najib didn't take action over non-return of RM42m, judge rules
11.25am - Mohd Nazlan rules that the accused did not take action to inquire on matters concerning the non-return of RM42 million to SRC International on grounds that investigations were pending.
The judge notes that the accused was informed that the funds were from SRC International and that as finance minister, he was the legal owner of the company.

Accused in contact with Jho and Azlin on accounts
11.15am - Mohd Nazlan rules that "totality of evidence" shows accused knew of transactions into the three AmBank Islamic accounts but "deliberately" kept from public disclosure.
The accused's conduct "at all times" was undertaken to ensure sufficient funds were in the accounts before spending it.
The judge rules that the "fact remains" that Jho Low and the accused's principal private secretary at the time Azlin Alias were in contact with the accused on the bank account.
"The inference is overwhelming," rules the judge.

Judge: Neither SRC nor Najib took legal action against AmBank Islamic
11.10am - Mohd Nazlan notes that neither SRC International nor the accused took legal action against the AmBank Islamic.
"Without any protest, there has never been any indication (of wrongdoing)," says the judge. 

Gathering of Najib's supporters sparks Covid-19 fears
11.10am - Thousands turned up outside the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex in Jalan Duta this morning to support Najib as he awaits the verdict of his SRC International trial and this has raised concerns about the spread of Covid-19.
Journalists note that social distancing is not observed while there are also those not wearing face masks.
Images of the crowd are being shared on social media whereas questions are also posted on the police and media WhatsApp group in regard to enforcement.

Defence fails to beat abuse of power charge
10.59am - Mohd Nazlan rules that the defence failed to rebut presumptions based on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 on the balance of probability and failed to raise reasonable doubt on the charge under Section 23(1) of the law. 
The judge is now making a ruling on the three criminal breach of trust charges. 

Najib stopped denying SRC funds recovery request by Ahmad Husni - judge
10.45am - Judge Nazlan rules that the accused had denied a request by then second finance minister and prosecution witness Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah to recover SRC International funds in Switzerland.
"The accused said the matter has to be dealt with (in a) 'government-to-government' manner. But evidence show, as prime minister, (the accused) never initiated (the matter)," he says.

No dispute of ‘rushed’ cabinet’s approval for KWAP’s RM2b loan to SRC - judge
10.30am - Mohd Nazlan rules that there was no dispute that cabinet's approval for the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) first RM2 billion loan to SRC International was "rushed".
For this loan, the judge states that Najib made a request and it was ultimately conveyed to KWAP's investment panel.
At the time, Najib was the finance minister and was thus in charge of KWAP.

Justice Mohd Nazlan delivers his verdict
10.20am - Mohd Nazlan rules that the accused was involved in the establishment of SRC International Sdn Bhd.
10.18am - Mohd Nazlan begins delivering the verdict in the RM42 million SRC International case against Najib.

Najib enters dock, court proceedings begin
10.17am - Najib enters the dock as proceedings before the Kuala Lumpur High Court begins.
Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is expected to deliver the verdict on the RM42 million SRC International corruption case against the former prime minister.
Also seen in the public gallery is Najib's daughter Nooryana Najwa and stepson Riza Aziz. 

Najib enters courtroom
9.58am - Najib enters the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Clad in a cream coloured suit, the former premier sits in the front row of the public gallery. Seated beside him is former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Also seen in the public gallery awaiting proceedings to begin are Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan and former Pahang menteri besar Adnan Yaakob.

Jamal: Case will not only affect Najib, but PN
9:50 am - Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Md Yunos tells the media outside the court that the case will not only affect Najib but also the PN government.
"Today (we came here) not for demonstration, but to show moral support for Najib," he says.

A 'hero's welcome' for Najib
9.30am - Najib arrives at the court complex and is given a hero's welcome by his supporters.
Several top Umno leaders are also seen in the vicinity, including president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, his deputy Mohamad Hasan, secretary-general Ahmad Maslan and youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.
So far, no prominent figures from parties allied to Umno have been spotted. 
Najib then walks into the court building under heavy guard by his security personnel without addressing the media.

Reporters allowed into courtroom
9.28am - Journalists from local and international agencies are allowed to enter the Kuala Lumpur High Court where the verdict is set to be read out.

Reporters yet to enter courtroom
9.15am - Reporters are yet to be allowed into Judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali's courtroom. Court police have indicated that they will be allowed in at 9.30am, at the earliest.
There is limited seating for the press, who had to draw straws a few days prior. Most will have to contend with a video-link facility.
The court is also barring the press from covering any other proceedings today to limit the number of people in the court complex.

Ahmad Maslan hopes 'truth will prevail'
9.05am - Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan hopes that Najib will be exonerated by the Kuala Lumpur High Court of all charges.
"I hope the truth will prevail, and he will be released by the court today," he tells reporters when met outside the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex.
Ahmad and other supporters of Najib are waiting for the BN advisory council chairperson to arrive for the case decision.

Najib's supporters come in droves
8.50am - More than 3,000 of Najib's supporters have converged outside the Kuala Lumpur court complex.
Clad either in red or blue, many bearing the familiar "bossku" phrase on their T-shirts as a sign of reverence for their leader, these supporters came from all over the country.
One of the women from Najib's Pekan constituency says they travelled throughout the night, arriving at the court complex at 5am.

7.20am: Najib will know today whether he is found guilty or can walk free from seven counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT), and money laundering involving RM42 million of funds from SRC International.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court is set to announce the verdict against the former prime minister at 10am.
This will cap a trial that has seen 57 prosecution witnesses and 19 defence witnesses take the stand during a hearing that has lasted over a 100 days since it first began on April 3 last year.
Today’s end-of-defence decision by Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali will be the first against Najib in the multiple ongoing 1MDB-linked criminal cases against the accused.
The other criminal cases against Najib that are still either being heard or pending before the Kuala Lumpur High Court are the RM2.28 billion 1MDB abuse of power and money laundering case, the 1MDB audit report tampering case, the RM6.6 billion IPIC (International Petroleum International Corp) CBT case, and the RM27 million SRC International money laundering case.
Seven charges
Today’s verdict is in relation to one count of abuse of power, three counts of CBT, and three counts of money laundering involving RM42 million of monies from SRC International.
SRC International was a former subsidiary of 1MDB, before it became fully owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc).
Najib was then chairperson of 1MDB’s board of advisors, SRC International’s advisor emeritus as well as finance minister.
The abuse of power charge is in relation to Najib’s role in approving RM4 billion in loans from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to SRC International.
The charge is framed under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009, which specifies a maximum penalty of 20 years' jail, a fine of not less than five times the amount of gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
The three CBT charges are in relation to the RM42 million that flowed into his bank accounts.
The three charges are laid out under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years’ jail, fine, and whipping (however if convicted, Najib, who just turned 67 on July 23, would be spared the whipping penalty due to his age).
The three money laundering charges are in relation to the RM42 million that was transferred into his bank accounts.
These three charges were made under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, carries a penalty of a jail term of up to 15 years, and RM5 million fine or five times the amount involved, whichever is higher.
On July 4, 2018, Najib was charged with one count of abuse of power and three counts of CBT. Later on Aug 8 the same year, he was charged with the three money laundering counts.
On Nov 11 last year, Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence to all seven charges, following the court's finding that the prosecution succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against the accused.
- Mkini

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