CNA – The lavish spending and glamorous lifestyle of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, became the focus of cross-examination in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial at the Malaysian High Court.
Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was pressing the witness, former 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir, on Low’s spending which the lawyer described as “close to insanity” and said this should have put those in the company on their toes.
The court was shown a clip of one of Low’s parties, including a vacation in St Tropez with the likes of socialite and heiress Paris Hilton attending.
Muhammad Shafee asked, “Were you perturbed by the news splashed worldwide of Jho
Azmi replied, “Yes.”
Azmi said he was “generally concerned” by the news about Low. “If he really was doing all these things, money going out of the company… I am the CFO so of course I would be concerned,” the witness said yesterday.
The lawyer suggested that Low’s extravagant lifestyle should have raised more suspicion and outrage given that the company was going downhill but Azmi said the two – Low’s lifestyle and 1MDB – should be separate matters.
“That is his private life. I wouldn’t know what source of wealth he has,” Azmi added.
Muhammad Shafee said, “Yes, his personal life is his issue but 1MDB is going broke. If 1MDB is running well, then it’s okay. But the company is bleeding money, so you didn’t question his private life?”
Azmi replied, “I don’t understand the links you made. I am only concerned with his fraudulent transactions in 1MDB.”
Muhammad Shafee asked, “Weren’t you concerned the man who was running behind the scenes was having this lavish lifestyle?”
Azmi answered, “It is two different things. His lifestyle doesn’t relate to the company.”
Muhammad Shafee suggested that Azmi was only “quietly concerned” about Low’s lifestyle because he was receiving bribes from Low, which the witness denied.
The lawyer also suggested to Azmi that some of the remittances he made – said to be transacted without the approval of 1MDB’s board of directors and ending up in a company linked to Low – had contributed to the financier’s lavish spendings.