Najib Trial Day 41 Ambank Asked Jho Low To Close Najib S Accounts Due To Amla Red Flag




The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd enters its 39th day today at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings

Summary of Najib’s SRC RM42 million caseNajib is facing 7 charges relating to RM42m involving SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary
1 abuse of power charge3 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges3 money laundering chargesClick to view information on judge, prosecution and defence teamKEY HIGHLIGHTSAmBank asked Jho Low to close Najib's accounts due to Amla red flagProsecution, defence clash over rogue banker allegationLetter from Nik Faisal states source of money from Najib's personal fundsMore than RM12 million deposited in Najib's accounts in 2014, 2015Najib's cards declined on 2014 holidayIt wouldn't have looked good if PM's cheque bounced - witnessProsecution takes dig at 'rogue bankers' insinuationUS$130k charged to Najib's credit card at Chanel store Jho Low resolved issues with overdrawing of Najib's accounts  I sometimes contacted Jho Low on Najib's accounts - witnessNik Faisal had no access to Najib's accountsI didn't have direct access to Najib's accounts, says ex-AmBank officerAmBank didn't bounce Najib's cheques due to his positionJho Low contacted me about Najib opening bank accounts - witnessAmBank asked Jho Low to close Najib's accounts due to Amla red flag4.30pm - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping says the resignation of AmBank Group director Cheah Tek Kuang in 2014 had prompted her to tell Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, that Najib Abdul Razak's accounts should be closed
Defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh asks Yu if the reason that prompted her to ask Low to close the accounts was due to the red flag raised under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001 as highlighted by former AmBank Group managing director Ashok Ramamurthy, and she replied that it was one of the reasons
Pressed by Harvinderjit on other reasons for that might be relevant, Yu says that the large cash deposits were additional factors
Prosecution, defence clash over rogue banker allegation3.28pm - DPP V Sithambaram and Najib Abdul Razak's defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh trade verbal blows over the prosecution's questioning of former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu on the existence of "rogue bankers" linked to the financial transactions of Najib's accounts
When Sithambaram attempted to question Yu about rogue bankers, Harvinderjit objected to the line of questioning
The allegation of the existence of rogue bankers was previously alluded to by the defence in their past cross-examinations
Sithambaram: Did the account holder accused you of (being part of a) conspiracy with Low Taek Jho to carry our fraudulent and transaction on these (Najib's) accounts
Yu: No
Sithambaram: In the trial, we heard an allegation that you are a rogue banker..
Harvinderjit: When the suggestion was made, we did not have the benefit of the (Balckberry) communication (logs), we still do not... For the better part of four hours (today), my learned friend did nothing but refer to the chats
Sithambaram: Then you withdraw the rogue banker allegation. She is the relationship manager and she can explain about the rogue banker (allegation). If they (the defence) withdraw it, I will not ask
Turning back to Yu, Sithambaram then asks her whether she was involved with Low in such a way that it led to Najib's present seven charges
"There was no conspiracy. Due to (Najib's accounts) being overdrawn, we contacted Low (so the businessperson can make sure Najib's account mandate holder Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil can attend to the bank's communications)," she says quietly
Cash deposits are from Najib's personal funds - Nik Faisal3pm - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping testifies that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil had written to the bank in December 2014 to explain the source of the cash deposited into Najib Abdul Razak's bank accounts
Yu says Nik Faisal wrote to AmBank as the financial institution was uncomfortable with the high volume of cash deposits made into three bank accounts - ending in 880, 898 and 906 - belonging Najib
She tells the court that Nik Faisal's letter, dated Dec 24, 2014, confirmed the source of the money was from Najib's personal funds
More than RM12 million deposited into Najib's accounts in 2014, 20152.45pm - RM12,379,063 were deposited into former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak's two AmBank accounts in 2014 and 2015Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping testifies that Najib's private banking account ending in 906 received a total of RM6,779,063 between June 2014 and March 2015, while his other account ending in 880 received RM5.6 million through cash deposits in January and February 2015
Yu says that banks usually only allow cash deposits if there is a genuine oversight that led to the overdrawing of accounts
However, the witness adds that the practice of making cash deposits is uncommon and there is a requirement for the bank to report to the relevant authorities
Proceedings resume after lunch break2.35pm - Proceedings resume after the lunch break with the continuing examination of former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping
Court breaks for lunch1pm - Proceedings break for lunch and will resume at 2.30pm
Najib's cards declined on 2014 holiday12.15pm - The court hears from former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu that two of Najib Abdul Razak's credit cards were declined when used to perform 16 transactions amounting to €570,000 (RM1.56 million) in August 2014
According to the witness, these transactions were attempted when Najib was on holiday
However, she says that 10 other transactions, involving the purchase of RM3.28 million worth of jewellery using the same credit cards went through
According to Yu, she contacted fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho via Blackberry Messenger on Aug 9, 2014, to verify RM3.28 million charged to Najib's credit cards
She says that Low replied on the same day saying that Najib was on holiday and that "all is well."Low then asked her to contact then-AmBank Group managing director Cheah Tek Kuang to clear a certain amount "for you know what purchase."It wouldn't have looked good if PM's cheque bounced - witness11.58pm - "The prime minister would not look good if cheques were issued but there were insufficient funds."This is former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu's explanation on why she dealt with fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho (photo) whenever she could not reach Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the mandate holder of Najib Abdul Razak's accounts

Under examination by deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram, the witness says that as the designated relationship manager for Najib's accounts, she would still need to resolve and try to prevent any cheques from bouncing due to insufficient balance
"When there were insufficient funds (in Najib's accounts), we do not think having the prime minister of Malaysia's cheques being returned... would be good. He is the prime minister of Malaysia
"We would then not want it to come out that the prime minister of Malaysia does not have enough funds."Yu is explaining why she always tried to first reach out to Nik Faisal and then to Low with regard to any overdraw, especially when cheques were issued
Prosecution takes dig at 'rogue bankers' insinuation11.54am - Deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram takes a dig at the defence mentioning "rogue bankers" in their cross-examinations
Sithambaram (photo) does this during the examination-in-chief of former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu, one of the key witnesses in the case

Earlier in the trial, the defence's line of questioning hinged on purported rogue bankers being involved in the transfer of millions of ringgit into then-prime minister Najib's AmBank accounts
"(The defence focused on) rogue bankers. What kind of rogue (banker) is this?", Sithambaram tells defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, in reference to Yu
US$130k charged to Najib's credit card at Chanel store 11am - A total of US$130,625.11 (RM466,330) was charged to one of Najib Abdul Razak's credit cards for purchases at the Chanel store in Honolulu, says Joanna Yu, a former AmBank relationship manager
The charge was made on Dec 22, 2014, on Najib's Visa Platinum card with the card number ending in 5496
Under examination by deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram, Yu testifies that she received a Blackberry Messenger message from businessperson Low Taek Jho at 2.10pm (Malaysian time) on Dec 23, 2014. Low asked her if the bank's system could accept a charge of US$100,000 in one purchase
Reading from a transcript of the chat messages, Yu testifies that Low had forwarded a text message that purportedly originated from Najib
She says Low told her that it was an urgent matter, and that Najib was in Hawaii, and he had wanted to charge US$100,000 on his card
Joanna testified that he then communicated with the bank's credit card department, which confirmed that the transaction had been cleared
Sithambaram: When you received a message such as this from Low who forwarded what purported to be a message from then prime minister (Najib Abdul Razak), did you have reason to suspect this message at that time
Joanna: No. I assumed it was from Najib. That's why we checked the credit cards (to see if the purchase cleared)
Jho Low resolved issues with overdrawing of Najib's accounts 10.54am - Joanna Yu testifies that fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho would be the person who resolved any issues related to overdrawing on Najib Abdul Razak's AmBank accounts
The former AmBank relationship manager says happened whenever she could not reach the accounts' mandate holder Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil
"He (Low) would address the overdrawn issue and have the cheques cleared," she says, adding that Low could accomplish this, even though he himself was never made a mandate holder for the former premier's accounts
"At certain instances, I would inform him (Low) as I could not reach out to Nik Faisal, he would say 'okay', and then somebody would put in a cash deposit (into Najib's overdrawn accounts), or he would get Nik Faisal to contact me."I would sometimes contact Jho Low on Najib's accounts - witness10.30am - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu says that she would sometimes contact businessperson Low Taek Jho on instructions concerning Najib Abdul Razak's accounts
She testifies that this happened when she could not get hold of the accounts' mandate holder, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil
Under examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram, Yu adds she only received written instructions from Nik Faisal, which she would then forward to Jalan Raja Chulan branch of AmBank
Nik Faisal had no access to Najib's accounts10.20am - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu tells the court that only Najib Abdul Razak was allowed to issue cheques from his current accounts

She testifies that Nik Faisal Arif Kamil (photo), who was mandated to act on Najib's accounts, could not issue cheques on his behalf
Yu added that Nik Faisal also could not withdraw or take out money from these accounts
I didn't have direct access to Najib's accounts, says ex-AmBank officer10.15am - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu says she did not have direct access to then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak's accounts
During examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram, the witness says she could not access to the system as a relationship manager, and only acted as a liaison
Sithambaram: Could you access the customer account of Najib from your computer terminal
Joanna: No, we (relationship managers) have to contact the branch (Jalan Raja Chulan branch where Najib's current and savings accounts were). It is client privilege
AmBank didn't bounce Najib's cheques due to his position10am - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu tells the court that the bank did not dishonour the cheques issued by Najib, not even when his accounts were overdrawn
Testifying under examination-in-chief by the prosecution, she says that this was due to Najib's status and position at that time as both prime minister and finance minister
She adds that the bank would contact her and she would then contact Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the mandate holder for Najib's accounts, to inform him to immediately remedy the overdrawn accounts
Jho Low contacted me about Najib opening bank accounts - witness9.34am - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu says fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho contacted her in early 2011 about then-premier Najib Abdul Razak's opening of current and savings accounts with AmBank
She tells deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed that Low had also asked whether it was possible for then-AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang to personally facilitate the opening of Najib's accounts
Proceedings begin with 54th witness taking the stand9.27am - Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu, the 54th witness, takes the stand
The hearing on the prosecution's application for Najib to apologise over his Facebook post related to RM3.36 million credit card spending will take place later today
9.26am - Proceedings begin with Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali entering the court
Najib arrives in court9am - Accused Najib Abdul Razak arrives in court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery
Also awaiting the start of proceedings are Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and other members of the prosecution, as well as members of the defence
Will Najib Abdul Razak need to make a full and unconditional apology for his Facebook posting regarding the RM3.36 million spent with a credit card linked to him
This is the issue to be argued by the prosecution and defence on the 41st day of his RM42 million SRC International trial before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali this morning
On July 18, Nazlan had warned Najib to refrain from further online postings that could amount to contempt. This was prompted by the accused’s July 16 Facebook post in which he defended the 2014 spending saying the amount was used to purchase gifts for foreign royalty
The judge’s warning was meant to preserve the status quo pending today’s hearing of the prosecution’s bid for Najib to apologise before the start of hearing at today
After a brief hearing which Nazlan had previously said should not exceed an hour, the main trial proper will then proceed. 

 -Mkini

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