[News] Banker: Najib’s AmIslamic bank accounts received US$731m, £9.46m in 12 transactions; sent out US$620m

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s two AmIslamic bank accounts that were under the codename of “AmPrivateBanking-MR” and “AmPrivateBanking-1MY” had received a total of US$731 million and £9.45 million in 12 transactions from overseas account from 2011 to 2014, the High Court has heard.

AmBank’s SWIFT unit manager Wedani Senen has confirmed this while testifying as the 29th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial over the misappropriation of more than RM2 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

Last week, Wedani had verified five of the 12 transactions, with these five transactions totalling almost US$670 million which had made it to Najib’s bank account which had the codename of “AmPrivateBanking-MR”.

Those five transactions were US$10 million in February 2011 and US$10 million in June 2011 from a “Prince Faisal Bin Turkey Bin Bandar Al Saud”, nearly US$5 million and US$25 million from Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners in October 2012 and in November 2012, and US$620 million from Tanore Finance Corp’s Falcon Private Bank account in Singapore in March 2013.

From the five transactions verified by Wedani last week, it would come up to a total of US$669,999,923 or over US$669 million that had actually entered Najib’s account between 2011 to 2013, after the bank charges are deducted.

Today, Wedani verified the remaining seven of 12 transactions where money had flowed into Najib’s accounts from 2013 to 2014, including a US$61 million sum from Tanore’s Falcon Private Banking account via the Wells Fargo Bank’s New York branch to Najib’s “AmPrivateBanking-MR” on March 25, 2013 (or more precisely, US$60,999,988 after US$12 of bank charges are deducted).

(Based on the testimony of AmBank official Salmah Daman Huri as the 23rd prosecution witness previously, this sum of over US$60 million was equivalent to RM188,001,963.02 or slightly over RM188 million based on the currency exchange rates of 3.082 during the time of the transaction in 2013.)

The rest were all transactions in pounds sterling, amounting to a total of £9,456,021.92 or £9.46 million all received in 2014. (Based on the testimony of AmBank official Salmah Daman Huri as the 23rd prosecution witness previously, this would be equivalent to a total of RM 49,930,985.70 or over RM49 million based on the currency exchange rates at the time of these six transactions).

These six transactions are £750 million from Blackrock Commodities (Global) Limited’s DBS Bank account in Singapore to Najib’s “AmPrivateBanking-1MY” account on June 23, 2014, as well as transactions from Vista Equity International Partners’ Amicorp Bank and Trust account in Barbados via Standard Chartered Bank in London to the same Najib account of “AmPrivateBanking-1MY” amounting to £5.75 million (on October 10, 2014), £694,343.62 (on November 24, 2014), £2,216.01 (on November 24, 2014), £995,000 (on December 5, 2014), £1,264,462.29 or over £1.26 million (on December 19, 2014).

Today, Wedani also confirmed an August 21, 2013 letter from Najib to AmIslamic Bank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager, instructing for money to be transferred out from his “AmPrivateBanking-MR” account to Tanore’s Falcon Private Bank account in Singapore with the number “8550299001”.

The Tanore bank account is the same one where nearly US$731 million was sent to Najib’s “AmPrivateBanking-MR” account earlier in March 2013.

Based on bank documents, Wedani verified that a sum of US$620,010,715.39 or over US$620 million was transferred from “AmPrivateBanking-MR” and made its way on August 26, 2013 to this Tanore bank account.

AmBank Remittance Centre manager Wedani Senen is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court April 30, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

The “AmPrivateBanking-MR” carries the account number 2112022009694 while the actual account number for “AmPrivateBanking-1MY” is 2112022011880.

Bankers from AmBank previously testified in this trial that high net worth clients of AmBank are handled by a unit called AmPrivateBanking which keeps the clients’ identities confidential, by using code names for their bank accounts.

Later when asked by Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed on how she knew that the two accounts with code names belong to Najib, Wedani explained that the thermal slips printed out by the bank’s systems would show Najib’s name for the account number ending 9694 when the bank converted currencies to be banked into the account.

“There were a few transactions in 2011 to be credited into 9694, there is a name, the thermal slip is on Datuk Seri Najib’s name,” she said.

Confirming that this account was known as “AmPrivateBanking-MR” after 2011, she confirmed however that any staff in the crediting department would know Najib received the money if money goes into this account as the thermal slip would carry Najib’s name.

As for the account number ending 880, Wedani said the account’s name had started appearing as “AmPrivateBanking-1MY” after 2012 and 2013, and that she knew that this account with the code name belonged to Najib after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) started investigating the case.

She confirmed she did not know who was the account holder to the “AmPrivateBanking-1MY” account when processing the transactions then, and that she had not asked further within the banking system on who is the account holder.

On the first day of trial, the prosecution had said it would show that 1MDB funds had been transferred in multiple transactions to Najib’s accounts, namely US$20 million equivalent to RM60,629,839.43 or over RM60 million from the first phase of the 1MDB scheme, US$30 million equivalent to RM90,899,927.28 or over RM90 million (second phase), US$681 million equivalent to RM2,081,476,926 or over RM2 billion (third phase), and transactions in pounds sterling that were equivalent to RM4,093,500 and RM45,837,485.70 or a combined total of RM49,930,985.70 million or over RM49 million (fourth phase).

For example, the prosecution had said it would show an individual known as Prince Faisal had transferred US$10 million twice on February 24, 2011 and June 14, 2011 to Najib from the first phase, and a company called Blackstone Asia had paid US$5 million on October 30, 2012 and US$25 million on November 19, 2012 to Najib’s account under the second phase, and that Tanore which was controlled by Low Taek Jho’s associate Eric Tan had allegedly paid US$681 million to Najib’s account between March 21, 2013 and April 10, 2013.

The prosecution had said both Blackrock and Vista — which allegedly channelled the equivalent of over RM49 million in pound sterling to Najib — are companies controlled by Tan.

The total of 1MDB funds that the prosecution had said it would prove had entered Najib’s accounts from all four phases of the 1MDB scheme would come up to a total of RM2,282,937,678.41 or over RM2.28 billion.

Naijb’s 1MDB trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow.

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