How Najib used 1MDB money to secure a meeting with King Abdullah

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 15): Last week, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) announced that it had issued an alert to Interpol for the arrest of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, and PetroSaudi International executives Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony.

This was the first time Malaysia had initiated action against Tarek and Mahony despite the fact that the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) venture with PetroSaudi was the start of a scandal that involved the theft of billions of dollars.

The Interpol alert was initiated based on two charges against Low, Tarek and Mahony. The first was that they had jointly, between Feb 24 and June 14, 2011, engaged in a criminal conspiracy for the commission of an offence by Datuk Sri Najib Razak, who used his position as Malaysia's Prime Minister for personal gratification of RM60.629 million (about US$20 million at the then exchange rate).

Najib is accused of directing the 1MDB board of directors on Sept 26, 2009 to authorise 1MDB to enter into a joint venture (JV) with PetroSaudi to the tune of US$1 billion. He is also accused of directing the board on May 16, 2011 to authorise 1MDB to invest another US$1 billion under a murabaha financing agreement with PetroSaudi. In the second charge, Tarek and Mahony are accused of money laundering by receiving a sum of US$300 million misappropriated from 1MDB on Sept 30, 2009 at a JPMorgan account in Switzerland.

Najib's explanation in court for the money which ended up in his personal accounts at AmBank was that they were Saudi donations.

The testimonies given by the former premier in court with regards to the Saudi “donation”, and the charges filed against Low, Tarek and Mahony are all related to the JV with PetroSaudi, where US$1.8 billion was stolen from 1MDB over a two-year period from 2009 to 2011.

In an article titled "Najib’s audience with King Abdullah secured through payments of money from 1MDB" , we detail what 1MDB's US$2 billion invested in PetroSaudi was used for. One of them was to help Najib arrange an audience with King Abdullah.

Our article also explains the email trail between Jho Low, Tarek, Mahony and Jho Low's associate See Sit Lin in relation to diplomatic matters between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, and what  Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor sought to achieve in the meeting with King Abdullah.

Pick up a copy of the latest edition of TheEdge to find how 1MDB's US$2 billion went into Najib's account in the form of "donation from Saudi".

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