AmBank converted US$710mil into ringgit and deposited it into VIP’s account, court told

Former prime minister Najib Razak is on trial over 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering involving funds amounting to RM2.28 billion. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Najib Razak 1MDB trial was told today that AmBank converted more than US$710 million into ringgit for a client’s private account between 2012 and 2013.

AmBank officer Salmah Daman Huri, however, stopped short of naming the VIP client who received the large sum of foreign money.

She told the High Court that the bank paid the client in ringgit after converting the US dollars, according to the exchange rate at the material time.

The prosecution, in its opening statement, had said that between Oct 30, 2012 and Nov 19, 2012, Najib had received US$30 million.

It contended that the funds that entered Najib’s account originated from the bonds raised to purchase two independent power plants (IPPs) from Tanjong Energy Holdings Sdn Bhd and Mastika Lagenda Sdn Bhd.

The prosecution also said between March 21, 2013 and April 10, 2013, a sum of US$681 million from 1MDB was deposited into Najib’s account. The US$681 million was said to have originated from 1MDB’s US$3 billion bond, raised to develop the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).

Najib is on trial over 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering involving funds amounting to RM2.28 billion that were deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.

Another bank officer, Fatehah Md Salleh from Deutsche Bank Malaysia, also testified today.

Fatehah told the court that on May 27, 2011, a total of US$110 million from 1MDB was transferred to RBS Coutts Bank Ltd in Zurich.

She said Deutsche Bank, during the material time, served as the bank which processed the foreign exchange payment between 1MDB and the recipient (RBS Coutts).

She said the then 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi had passed a copy of an instruction letter to Deutsche Bank, instructing it to deposit US$110 million into an account at RBS Coutts, without specifying the account holder’s name.

Fatehah said 1MDB then gave another letter to Deutsche Bank, stating that the account holder was PetroSaudi International.

“We conducted checks on our ‘PCR’ (Preventive Crime Research) and ‘HotScan’ system and found there were no restrictions imposed against transactions into this RBS Coutts account,” she said, referring to the bank’s internal systems of conducting checks on recipient’s accounts.

To a question from Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohamed on whether she could identify who was the account owner based on the account number – 11116073.2000 – Fatehah said she could not.

The hearing continues before trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah on June 13.

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