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Eric Tan claims he does not know beneficiary of US$681m ‘donation’

KUALA LUMPUR (March 3): Eric Tan Kim Loong, a confidante of Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), claimed he does not know who the recipients of the infamous US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) “donation” allegedly received by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak are.

In a statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) almost five years ago, the 42-year-old Tan said he, along with Jho Low, was an associate of Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Majed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Prince Saud) who introduced him to Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Prince Faisal) and Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Prince Turki).

Tan was appointed the nominee of the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince Faisal, Prince Saud and other members of the royal family via a letter dated Aug 3, 2009.

However, subsequent unspecified events that took place later cast doubts on his capacity as their nominee, causing Prince Turki to issue to him another letter dated Sept 28, 2015, which stated that foreign investments and the setting up of various entities such as Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Ltd and Tanore Finance Corp were done based on their instructions, said Tan.

In his statement, he mentioned 13 transactions made from 2011 to 2012 that amounted to US$370 million, details of which he could not recall.

“... in most cases, I would just do as directed by my principals and was not concerned with the underlying details at all.

“I am unable to recall the details of these remittances of approximately US$620 million and US$61 million paid from its various assets,” he said in the statement.

US$620 million had allegedly originated from Tanore, while US$61 million had come from Blackstone, according to the Department of Justice.

Tan said while he was aware about media reports that these were paid to Najib's AmBank accounts, he reiterated that he does not know who the past payees or beneficiaries were.

His statement with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which was recorded by officer Mohd Hafaz Nazar, was taken in the palace of King Abdullah Abdulaziz in Riyadh on Nov 29, 2015.

It was tendered today by Najib's defence team through MACC investigating officer Mohd Nasharuddin Amir at the former premier's SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

During proceedings today, Nasharuddin admitted that Tan was not interviewed by investigating officers, and had instead handed them the document, which was eventually used as an official witness statement.

Typically, an MACC investigating officer would interview a witness and draft a statement based on his or her responses.

Nasharudin also admitted that the official MACC statement was copied and pasted from Tan’s pre-prepared statement with no further additions made, before he signed the document as an admission of his statement.

Najib's SRC trial, where he faces three charges of criminal breach of trust, an abuse of power charge and three money laundering charges involving RM42 million, continues tomorrow before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

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