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1MDB-Tanore Trial Day 30: Longer proceedings until to make up for Najib’s absence from swollen eyes

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 5): The 1Malaysia Development Bhd-Tanore (1MDB) trial today is scheduled to start from 9.30am and end at 6pm – instead of the usual 5.30pm – for the defence to continue cross-examining prosecution witness Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

This extended schedule will be in force until the end of next week to make up for the controversial absence of Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Oct 31, who took medical leave after claiming that allergies caused his eyes to swell.

Najib made headlines when he appeared in Johor the very next day to campaign for Barisan Nasional’s bid in the coming Tanjung Piai by-elections.

Although the prosecution tried to apply for additional bail conditions on Najib after a police report was lodged on Najib’s presence in the state, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah decided not to impose any additional bail, but stressed that he would not tolerate any attempts to mislead the court.

After that, lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah continued to question the fiduciary duties of Shahrol, who served as the chief executive officer for 1MDB from 2009 to 2013.

Shafee found the witness’ move to table proposals from PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) to 1MDB’s board of directors in 2010 suspicious, given the dubious circumstances of their joint venture (JV) in 2009.

Shahrol argued that he tabled the proposals to preserve the “strategic relationship” between both 1MDB and PSI, despite what the lawyer described as “zero governance” of their JV.

In the 1MDB-Tanore trial, Najib faces four charges for using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving RM4.3 billion.

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