KUALA LUMPUR– Sept. 15, 2020: Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low provided a written script for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when trying to convince audit firm KPMG to unconditionally conclude its audit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s 2013 financial statements despite reservations over a purported US$2.3 billion overseas investment.
Najib had met with KPMG in December 2013 at his home here as the firm had insisted on obtaining more proof that 1MDB actually had US$2.3 billion of assets in overseas investments before the firm could conclude its audit.
But two weeks after that meeting 1MDB replaced KPMG with Deloitte.
According to former 1MDB CEO Mohd. Hazem Abdul Rahman, before the meeting Jho Low had sent an email that was made available to Najib and 1MDB officers to outline what was required at the meeting.
Low appeared to coach or direct Najib on what to say to KPMG.
Najib faces 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering of 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.
While testifying today Hazem read out Low’s strategy, including the instruction for Najib to express his confidence in the credentials of Singapore-based BSI Bank which was acting as fund manager of 1MDB’s purported US$2.3 billion investments.
Najib assured KPMG representatives that he knew of the US$2.3 billion investments by 1MDB’s special purpose vehicle Brazen Sky Limited.
Hazem said KPMG did not conclude its audit even after knowing that Najib was personally aware of the investments because it was still dissatisfied with the documents and answers provided by 1MDB.
“Due to pressure by Datuk Seri Najib to close 1MDB’s financial statements and for the company’s reputation, the management proposed to the board of directors and shareholder to replace KPMG with Deloitte,” said Hazem.
The trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes on Thursday.