Witness didn’t know part of US$3 bln bonds transferred to Tanore, court told


KUALA LUMPUR,. The former chief financial officer (CFO) of 1MDB told the High Court here today that he had no knowledge that part of the proceeds of the US$3 billion bond issuance had been transferred to three companies including Tanore Finance Corporation (Tanore).

Azmi Tahir, 48, said he only found out about the transfers through media reports.

In the opening statement of the 1MDB case, the prosecution claimed that Tanore had transferred a total of US$681 million into Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s account between March 21, 2013 and April 10, 2013 and it was the main point in the charges against the former prime minister.

The 12th prosecution witness said the bonds should have been invested in a 1MDB joint venture with Aabar Investment PJS, namely Abu Dhabi Malaysia Investment Company (ADMIC).

“Datuk Seri Najib through his principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias, has ordered the bonds to be channelled to three investment companies, Cistenique Investment Fund B.V (Cistenique), Devonshire Capital Growth Fund (Devonshire) and Enterprise Emerging Market Fund (Enterprise Emerging).

“However, I did not know that these three investment companies would transfer part of the US$3 billion bond funds to Tanore and two other companies, Granton Property Holding Limited and Midhurst Trading Limited.

“All these decisions and transfers are beyond my knowledge. I also asked Terence Geh (former deputy CFO of 1MDB) if we (1MDB) had any dealings with Tanore when the company’s name came out in the media and was linked to 1MDB. However, Geh at that time denied the matter,” he said.

He said this when reading out his 127-page witness statement at Najib’s corruption and money laundering trial involving RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.

Azmi said he and Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman (former chief executive officer of 1MDB) were only informed about investments in only three companies, namely Cistenique, Devonshire and Enterprise Emerging.

“I confirm that I have signed several documents confirming that 1MDB took note of the investments in these three investment companies.

“I have also never allowed any third party to make any investment with other parties, including Datuk Seri Najib’s account,” he said.

Earlier, Azmi said the transfer of funds to the three companies was done on March 20, 2013, a day after the US$2.7 billion in bond issuance proceeds were deposited into the account of 1Malaysia Development Berhad Global Investments Limited (1MDB GIL).

“I confirm that after obtaining board members’ approval and letter of support from the Ministry of Finance for bond fundraising, US$3 billion has been disbursed into 1MDB GIL’s account, with a total of US$ 2.7 billion, which is the amount after deducting service charges imposed by the Goldman Sachs bank.

“As the CFO, the main purpose of raising funds of US$3 billion was for the ADMIC joint venture but since the funds were used for other purposes as early as 24 hours after the funds were received, I believe the ADMIC joint venture was deliberately designed to ensure the bonds could be issued legally,” according to Azmi.

He added that the US$3 billion bond was not used at all for real estate and development of Bandar Malaysia.

Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Monday.

— Bernama

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