Deutsche Bank is pushing to speed up $1bn money transfer from 1MDB as PM Najib would issue a press release, ex-banker told court

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 – Finance Ministry-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) quoted then-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when urging Deutsche Bank to help the company quickly transfer 1 billion US dollars to two overseas accounts in September 2009, and had even given a specific time for it to be done before 4pm that day, the High Court heard today.

Jacqueline Ho, former Managing Director (Head of Global Markets Corporate Sales) of Deutsche Bank (M) Berhad, said this during her testimony as the 30th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial for the embezzlement of over of RM2 billion of 1MDB funds.

She said that 1MDB on September 29, 2009 provided Deutsche Bank with two documents, including Bank Negara Malaysia’s written approval on September 29 to 1MDB to transfer US$1 billion of the company’s funds to 1MDB’s BSI bank account. -PetroSaudi to acquire a 40 percent purported joint venture of 1MDB PetroSaudi Limited in the British Virgin Islands.

The other document was minutes of the September 26, 2009 1MDB board meeting where the directors approved Casey Tang, then executive director of 1MDB, as the authorized official to approve and execute the 1MDB transaction. billion US dollars.

However, on the morning of September 30, 1MDB officials notified Deutsche Bank to transfer 1MDB’s US$1 billion in funds to two bank accounts instead.

Ho spoke today about the multiple efforts and actions taken by Deutsche Bank to verify the sudden change in instructions for the US$1 billion before making the transfers, including obtaining confirmation that Bank Negara Malaysia had approved this change.

Ho said Tang had asked Deutsche Bank to complete the $1 billion transfer as soon as possible because it was allegedly a government-to-government transaction.

“Later, Casey Tang kept insisting DBMB again, that DBMB should speed up the money transfer process, because then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wanted to make a statement to the press about the proposed 1MDB joint venture with PetroSaudi International.Ltd As such, we have been asked to expedite the process of disbursing US$1 billion to these two accounts,” she said today.

Najib’s lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, objected to this part of Ho’s testimony on Najib’s press release as allegedly hearsay, but then asked how it happened.

Ho said Tang came to the Deutsche Bank office – which is in the same building as 1MDB’s office – and asked to complete the transaction quickly.

“He said can you all process this transaction quickly, we’ll sit here and wait and give us the confirmation, can you do it before four o’clock, because the Prime Minister’s press release, he’s going to announce it , we need a transaction to be done before that,” she said.

Aizuddin: This alleged representation by Casey motivated you to undertake this transaction as soon as you can?

Ho: I don’t think so – I guess yes and no. In the sense that we would have done it that day anyway, it would go through a queue, for US dollar transactions we would probably finish it around five or six in the evening, but because it wanted it done before four o’clock, I had instructed my operations to prioritize the handover before other customers.

Aizuddin asked if Deutsche Bank would have delayed the billion-dollar transaction until the next date or if its conduct would have been different from the normal process had Tang not mentioned that the prime minister wanted to make the statement to the hurry.

Ho then said that Deutsche Bank would definitely not have postponed it until the next day, because the client 1MDB through his agent Tang had “given very strict instructions to send it on September 30” and there was no way that the bank would have delayed it. .

When asked if she knew how Najib fit into the whole 1MDB deal, Ho said, “At that time we were told it was a G2G transaction. (government-to-government) size, the bank felt that 1MDB would be like Khazanah Nasional in that it would be a government investment vehicle.

“So from that point on, obviously since he belongs to the Ministry of Finance and Datuk Seri Najib was also finance minister, so it’s only natural that he wants to make a statement to the press on a major investment,” he said. she declared.

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on June 21, 2022 — Photo by Devan Manuel

After the billion-dollar transaction was completed and the funds sent to both bank accounts around 3 p.m. that day, Ho said she checked and found that the press release was indeed made around 4 p.m. the same day based on an online version. of a press article.

She said she forwarded the news article to Deutsche Bank’s compliance department in a thread as part of the documentation for client 1MDB’s statement that they had a joint venture and investment and that the public announcement about it.

Looking back, Ho said she now knew the billion-dollar transaction was for fraudulent purposes.

When asked if she now knew if the status of the $1 billion investment was a real investment, as well as based on what she had read in 1MDB information and what the authorities hinted or said to her during the 1MDB investigation, Ho said, “I guess what was hinted or implied was basically fraud, yeah. She agreed that the billion of US dollars that was to be sent to the so-called 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture went elsewhere instead.

It was only days after sending the billion US dollars that Deutsche Bank discovered that one of the accounts – which had received US$700 million – was actually Good Star Limited, instead of PetroSaudi International , as 1MDB initially claimed on the day of trades. At that time, Deutsche Bank asked 1MDB, but 1MDB claimed that Good Star was a subsidiary of 1MDB’s alleged joint venture partner, PetroSaudi International Limited.

Aizuddin: Now coming back to this hindsight story, so you now know for sure that 700 million US dollars was wrongly sent and that Good Star is an entity owned by Low Taek Jho?

Ho: Yes correct.

In that lawsuit, a lawyer appeared today to hold a surveillance warrant for Deutsche Bank.

On the first day of the trial, the prosecution said they would show that $24.5 million of the $700 million at Good Star ended up with a ‘Prince Faisal’, who then allegedly transferred $20 million (equivalent to RM60, 629,839.43) into Najib’s personal bank account in two transactions of $10 million each in February 2011 and June 2011.

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