Najib Razak Failed to Disclose 2010 Meeting with Saudi King to Anti-Corruption Investigators

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak failed to disclose a 2010 meeting with Saudi King Abdullah during 1MDB corruption probe, raising questions about transparency in the high-profile case.

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Najib Razak Failed to Disclose 2010 Meeting with Saudi King to Anti-Corruption Investigators

Najib Razak Failed to Disclose 2010 Meeting with Saudi King to Anti-Corruption Investigators

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak did not inform the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) about a high-profile meeting he had with the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2010 during his interrogation in the 1MDB corruption case, according to testimony from an MACC investigating officer.

The meeting, which took place in Riyadh in January 2010, allegedly involved King Abdullah pledging to give Najib donations.

Nur Aida Arifin, the MACC investigating officer and 49th prosecution witness in the RM2.27 billion 1MDB corruption trial against Najib, stated that the former prime minister's statement to the MACC did not mention the Cabinet ministers who attended the meeting with him, including the then Foreign Minister, Malaysia's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department. The issue of the 2010 meeting only arose during Najib's separate SRC International trial in 2020.

During the SRC trial, a former minister, Jamil Khir, testified that the Malaysian government, through Najib, had applied for a donation from Saudi Arabia, and the money was not an offer made by the Kingdom. Testimonies from former ministers confirmed the meeting, where King Abdullah decided to transfer 'political aid' directly to Najib's personal bank accounts.

The MACC also faced challenges in verifying the authenticity of the 'Arab' donation letters that were presented as evidence, as they were unable to obtain a direct statement from Prince Saud Abdulaziz Majid Al Saud, the purported donor. A mutual legal assistance request sent by the MACC to Saudi Arabia regarding the donation letters received no response.

Why this matters: The revelation that Najib did not initially disclose the 2010 meeting with the Saudi king to anti-corruption investigators raises questions about the transparency and credibility of his defense in the 1MDB corruption case. The testimony from the MACC investigating officer highlights the challenges faced by authorities in uncovering the truth behind the alleged misappropriation of billions of dollars from the state investment fund.

Najib is currently facing charges of using his position as prime minister to obtain bribes totaling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount. He is also serving a 12-year jail sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB, which was recently reduced to six years of jail and a RM50 million fine. The ongoing 1MDB corruption trial against Najib continues to shed light on the complex web of financial transactions and alleged abuse of power surrounding the scandal.

Key Takeaways

  • Najib did not disclose 2010 meeting with Saudi King Abdullah to MACC investigators.
  • Testimony reveals Cabinet ministers attended the meeting, which involved a donation pledge.
  • MACC faced challenges verifying authenticity of 'Arab' donation letters presented as evidence.
  • Najib faces charges of using PM position to obtain RM2.3 billion in bribes from 1MDB.
  • Ongoing 1MDB trial sheds light on complex financial transactions and alleged abuse of power.