Jho Low issued most of the instructions for Najib's accounts, affirms witness

Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu, the 54th prosecution witness. Photo by Shahrin Yahya/The Edge

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 29): Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu, the 54th prosecution witness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, agreed that most of the instructions relating to the former premier's bank accounts were issued by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.

Jho Low, as he is better known, was said to have contacted Yu regarding transactions relating to Najib's accounts at AmBank, while former SRC managing director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who is a signatory for the AmBank accounts, was mostly involved in formalising the instructions.

Lawyer Harvinderjit Singh continued his cross-examination with Yu today, asking her about the cash transfers made between 2011 and 2013 in and out of Najib's 694 AmBank account, which included the total US$680.99 million from Tanore Finance Corp in 2013.

Low would often remind the bank that the transactions were confidential and "super sensitive".

As previously reported, out of the total amount sent, some US$620 million — the amount which was not utilised — was then returned to Tanore.

Low was involved both in the receipt of funds into Najib's account, as well as the process of returning the money, issuing instructions to Yu.

"Jho [Low] sends me all these instructions but I told him that he has to send them to Nik Faisal and not to me, so they can discuss with the foreign exchange head," she said in response to Harvinderjit's question on what she meant by Nik Faisal having to be "prepped" to explain the foreign exchange transactions to the head of the foreign exchange department at AmBank.

"Would you agree that the instructions had mostly come from Jho Low and Nik Faisal would then formalise the instructions?" asked the lawyer.

"It appears so," said Yu.

During the remittance process to return the US$620 million, AmBank had to purchase US dollars in tranches to facilitate the transaction, as per Bank Negara Malaysia's advice, in order to "not move the market".

Yu agreed with the lawyer's suggestion that the whole affair of returning the money was stressful.

She also revealed that Low uses some quirky nomenclature in reference to the money transfers, often referring to US$1 million as one "American pie" while each RM1 million was denoted as one "satay".

Yu had also used this terminology in her conversations with Low.

"Why the use of these nomenclature?" asked the lawyer.

"Those are the terms that Jho uses. I was just following his cue," said Yu.

See also:
Defence grills ex-AmBank relationship manager Yu over BBM messages
Najib's SRC trial: Witness says Jho Low asked her to ensure ex-PM's credit card transactions would go through
Najib's SRC trial: Witness says Jho Low suggested code name for ex-PM's AmBank account
Najib's SRC trial: Witness says ex-PM's AmBank accounts often overdrawn