Najib 1mdb Trial Day 31 Shahrol S Salary Increased To Rm90k For Exceeding Expectations




The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged abuse of power and money laundering of 1MDB funds enters its 31st day today at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings
Summary of Najib’s 1MDB ‘donation’ caseNajib is facing 25 charges of receiving RM2.28 billion, which originated from 1MDB through Tanore Finance Corp, a company owned by Eric Tan, a close associate of fugitive businessperson Jho Low
21 money laundering charges4 abuse of power chargesClick to view information on judge, prosecution and defence teamKEY HIGHLIGHTSShahrol's salary increased to RM90k for exceeding expectationsJudge's quip that proceedings can go beyond 6pm leaves court in stitchesPrince Turki sent letter to Najib on more Saudi Arabia-M'sia cooperationConspiracy to mislead 'the PM' by Jho Low and associatesDefence more than halfway through Shahrol's cross-examinationDocuments show inconsistent reasons for money transfer to Good StarShahrol can't confirm money loaned to PSI used for intended purposeEx-1MDB CEO only shown 'high-level' money trail, court hearsAbout RM340m of 1MDB money ended up in Jho Low's company - witnessShahrol's cold hands inject humour into proceedingsThank you for following Malaysiakini's live report6.10pm - Thank you for following our live report today
Proceedings adjourn for the day, to resume tomorrow after 6.30am6.04pm - Proceedings adjourn for the day and will resume tomorrow sometime after 9.30am
Prior to trial adjourning for this afternoon, lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram and lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah inform High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the duo has to attend to an earlier court matter tomorrow morning before they could come for Najib Abdul Razak's RM2.28 billion 1MDB trial
Allowing the application for trial to begin later after 9.30am tomorrow, Sequerah reminds both prosecution and defence that this will lead to proceedings adjourning at 6.15pm tomorrow as a result
1MDB board raised Shahrol's salary to RM90k for exceeding expectations5.50pm - The court hears that in a meeting in April 2011, 1MDB's board of directors decided that then CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halim's performance had exceeded expectations and gave him a raise
According to the minutes of meeting referred to by lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the board had agreed for Shahrol's salary to be given a 12.5 percent increment from RM80,000 to RM90,000 a month
The increment was to take effect on the same month (April 2011)
Shahrol joined 1MDB as its CEO in 2009 with a monthly salary of RM80,000
The witness, however, testifies that he did not know what were the performance indicators that the board had based their decision on
Shahrol says he had stayed out from the meeting when the board discussed his salary
Judge's quip that proceedings can go beyond 6pm leaves court in stitches5.31pm - Proceedings resume after the break
5.10pm - Collin Lawrence Sequerah leaves the High Court in stitches when he remarks that proceedings can continue beyond 6pm today as there would be a traffic jam at that time
The High Court judge's humorous statement comes on the heels of lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah telling the court that he has been standing for too long and feels tired
"(I) can allow a break. 10 minutes. 6pm is (traffic) jam. Maybe we should go on (beyond 6pm)," Sequerah says, eliciting laughter from everyone in court
Sequerah then allows proceedings to go for a short break
Prince Turki sent letter to Najib on more Saudi Arabia-M'sia cooperation4.25pm - Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi testifies that he only saw a purported letter from Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki bin Abdullah (photo, below) to then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak when interrogated by MACC last year
In Paragraph 294 of Shahrol's 270-page witness statement, he testifies that the letter showed Prince Turki talking about ways for both Saudi Arabia and Malaysia to continue their joint cooperation via joint investments
Shahrol said in the witness statement that the letter was a cover letter for a letter from PSI International, one of the entities involved with 1MDB in the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture
The ninth prosecution witness says that despite the Feb 18, 2011, letter being minuted to then 1MDB chairperson Lodin Wok Kamaruddin on March 11 the same year, he never saw it in the entirety of 2011
Shafee: When did you see this (letter from Prince Turki to Najib)
Shahrol: (I did) not even (see it) in 2011. Only during the investigation in 2018. I believe it was MACC (who showed the letter to me)
Conspiracy to mislead 'the PM' by Jho Low and associates3.10pm - The trial sees lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah bringing up an email that was purportedly sent by PetroSaudi International executive Patrick Mahoney to its co-founder Tarek Obaid in 2010
The email, dated Aug 7, 2010, discussed what looked like a plan between Tarek (photo, left), Mahoney (photo, right) and 1MDB-linked businessperson Low Taek Jho on a US$1 billion fund belonging to 1MDB and what they wanted to tell "the PM" to get more funding
Reading the email's content during his cross-examination of former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Shafee then presses the witness to answer his questions on the Aug 7, 2010 email
However, to most of the questions, Shahrol tells the court that he was not comfortable answering without full information as he had no personal knowledge of the matters
The witness, however, agrees that "the PM" mentioned in the email might be referring to the Malaysian prime minister Najib Abdul Razak
After being pressed by the defence counsel, Shahrol also agrees that based on the content in paragraph four of the email alone, it looked like there was a conspiracy to mislead Najib by the three people
Shafee: Based on this particular paragraph four, wasn't there a conspiracy to hide certain facts from the PM of Malaysia? From the fourth paragraph in this conversation between these personsShahrol: Based (only) on point four, it does look there is a conspiracy to mislead the PM
Defence more than halfway through Shahrol's cross-examination2.45pm - Najib Abdul Razak's lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah reveals that the defence is more than halfway in its cross-examination of former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi
The former prime minister's lawyer, however, tells High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the defence may not be able to wrap up cross-examination of Shahrol by Thursday next week
Previously, the court had only fixed Najib'd RM2.28 billion 1MDB trial until Thursday next week
Sequerah: How long more do you need to question Shahrol
Shafee: (We are) more than halfway
Shafee, however, cautions that the defence has not questioned Shahrol in relation to the Tanore aspect of the case
Shafee: Speaking for myself, we suspect we will not be able to finish by the end of next week
Sequerah: Then that means (more time needed by the defence) until January (2020)
Shafee: Yes
The lawyer says that the amount of questioning is needed as every part of Shahrol's 270-page witness statement is a "loaded sentence"
"Each sentence has material that we need to scramble, and we have been doing just that to dispute or see if there is support for what he (Shahrol) says (in the witness statement)
Shafee assures the court though that as a result of the numerous questions levelled at Shahrol, the defence would not need to cross-examine the witnesses that would come after Shahrol as much
Proceedings resume after lunch 2.35pm - Court proceedings resume
12.40pm - Proceedings adjourn for lunch and will resume at 2.30pm this afternoon
Documents show inconsistent reasons for money transfer to Good Star12.19pm - Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi agrees that there is no commonality of purpose as stated in bank documents for PetroSaudi executive Tarek Obaid's alleged transfer of 82 million Swiss francs to Jho Low-linked Good Star Ltd
The ninth witness agrees with what lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is trying to convey when presenting several bank documents
The bank document confirming the 82 million Swiss francs were sent to Good Star stated a different reason than the one contained in the bank document stating the purpose for the money going to Good Star's account
It was earlier testified that the 82 million Swiss francs were diverted from US$500 million, which was money sent by 1MDB to the PSI Holdings as part of their joint venture in late 2010
"No commonality," Shahrol says when looking at the bank documents
Shahrol can't confirm money loaned to PSI used for intended purpose12.05pm - The High Court hears from ex-1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi that he did not know if the US$500 million (about RM2 billion) loaned out by 1MDB to PSI Holdings in 2012 was really used to buy shares in an energy business
Earlier, Shahrol testified that based on banking documents, approximately US$83 million from the loan amount had ended up in Jho Low's Good Star Ltd
Under cross-examination by lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the witness says that he had never seen any documentary proof that PSI Holdings had used the remaining amount for the acquisition of GDF Suez shares
Shafee: Have you been shown the bank statement of PSI Holdings
Shahrol: No
Shafee: So you cannot confirm if the balance was used to purchase shares of GDF Suez
Shahrol: I cannot confirm
For the record, 1MDB had loaned US$500 million to PSI Holdings, which used to be its joint-venture company with PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd, for the latter to purchase GDF Suez shares
However, according to banking documents produced in court, Tarek Obaid, who had control on PSI Holdings, had ordered for 82 million Swiss francs (equivalent to US$83 million) to be transferred into his personal account at JP Morgan
Tarek had also ordered his personal banker to then transfer the amount to a RBS Coutts bank account belonged to Good Star Ltd
Ex-1MDB CEO only shown 'high-level' money trail, court hears10.45am - Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi testifies that he was only shown "high-level" money trail from 1MDB, which went to Jho Low-linked Good Star Limited and Aabar BVI entities
The ex-1MDB CEO tells lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah this during cross-examination
Shafee is asking the ninth prosecution witness on whether the latter had been shown the 1MDB-linked money trail involving the diversion of 82 million Swiss Franc from US$500 million
The diversion was alleged to have been committed by Petrosaudi executive Tarek Obaid
US$500 million was borrowed from AmBank by 1MDB back in Sept 2010 as part of a transaction involving the 1MDB-Petrosaudi joint venture
"During investigation, I was shown high-level money trail from 1MDB to Good Star and to Aabar BVI entity, and where they (money) went through
"Only high-level trail, not the (specific) details and mechanics," Shahrol says
About RM340m of 1MDB money ended up in Jho Low's company - witness10.40am - The court hears that barely a week after 1MDB transferred US$500 million to PSI Holdings in Sept 2012 for the latter to invest in a French energy company, a part of the amount had landed in Jho Low's company Good Star Ltd
During cross-examination by the defence on former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, the court hears about banking details on how Tarek Obaid (below), who had control over PSI Holdings, ordered for the transfer of some 82 million Swiss Franc from the company's account into his personal bank account at JP Morgan on Sept 23, 2012
Tarek also issued instructions to his personal banker to then transfer the amount, equivalent to about RM340 million, from his account to Good Star Ltd
For the record, PSI Holdings is formerly a joint-venture company between 1MDB and Petrosaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd before 1MDB disposed of its shares worth US$1 billion
PSI Holdings had on Sept 14, 2012 received the US$500 million from 1MDB as a loan for it to invest in GDF Suez energy company (now known as ENGIE)
Shahrol's cold hands inject humour into proceedings10.25am - "My hands are freezing."These brief words by former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi inject humour into the normally sombre High Court proceedings
The ninth witness makes the observation due to the coldness in the air-conditioned courtroom
"I will wear gloves next time," Shahrol says as he rubs his hands together, triggering chuckles from those in court
The court interpreter is then seen adjusting the air-conditioning temperature control to make the courtroom less cold
Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin9.50am - Najib Abdul Razak enters the dock as proceedings begin
The former prime minister's lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is set to resume cross-examination of former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, who is the prosecution's ninth witness
9.32am - Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters the High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to wait for proceedings to begin
Also in court is former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, who is seen sitting in the witness stand, lead prosecutor DPP Gopal Sri Ram and other members of the prosecution, as well as Najib's defence team
Najib Abdul Razak's (below) defence team’s cross-examination has covered nearly half of the 270-page witness statement of former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi
Just prior to the trial before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah adjourned yesterday, lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was questioning the ninth prosecution witness Shahrol over the RM2.5 billion term loan facility agreement between the sovereign wealth fund and AmBank dated Sept 13, 2010
The particular topic is on page 129 of Shahrol's witness statement, signifying a near half-way point of the said statement and a gauge on how much longer the defence team would spend in cross-examining him
This is something that keen observers would keep in mind as Najib's RM2.28 billion 1MDB trial before Sequerah resumes at 9.30am this morning, and is set to end around 6pm today
Shafee has been subjecting Shahrol to methodical cross-examination since Oct 7, when the defence team was given the opportunity to question the star witness
[More to follow] - Mkini

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