Najib told Cabinet to keep Arab donation to Yayasan 1MDB under wraps, witness claims

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pictured) instructed his Cabinet during a meeting in 2010 to keep mum about the "donation" from Saudi Arabia's crown prince Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud to 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) charity arm Yayasan 1MDB as the prince had requested that the contribution not be announced, a prosecution witness told the High Court here today.

Former Cabinet deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Mazidah Abdul Majid, who is the prosecution's 11th witness in the 1MDB-Tanore trial, said today she attended the Cabinet meeting which Najib chaired on Sept 8, 2010.

Mazidah claimed today that during the meeting, Najib told the Cabinet he was having formal and informal engagements with certain Middle East countries’ parties, which had responded positively to many matters involving Malaysia's interests.

According to Mazidah, Najib said he was informed by the Saudi crown prince that the prince had agreed to contribute to Yayasan 1MDB through his charitable foundation. 

Mazidah claimed that Najib said “the first donation has already been received and the crown prince has promised to transmit the next donation after this (first donation)".

According to Mazidah, Najib said, "Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud has requested that this contribution not be announced.”

According to news reports on Sept 20, 2018, Najib on that day pleaded not guilty to 25 charges linked to abuse of power and money laundering over hundreds of millions of dollars of funds received in his personal bank account.

It was reported that the charges included four counts of abuse of power involving RM2.28 billion in 1MDB funds.

News reports indicated that prosecutors also charged Najib with 21 counts of money laundering. The list included nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities.

"Prosecutors, describing the abuse of power charges, said Najib used his position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of 1MDB to obtain funds totalling about RM2.3 billion between 2011 and 2014.

"The money laundering charges describe how Najib received RM2.1 billion from Tanore Finance Corp, which US authorities have said was used to siphon money from 1MDB," CNA reported on Sept 20, 2018.

As such, Najib’s trial has been referred as the 1MDB-Tanore trial, which is being heard before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

The defence will cross-examine Mazidah when the trial resumes tomorrow at 9.15am.

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