1MDB trial: Inappropriate relationship between Najib’s ex-Ambank relationship manager and Jho Low, says defence

KUALA LUMPUR: A late-night conversation between Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s former relationship manager at Ambank Joanna Yu Gin Ping and rogue financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low became the highlight in Najib’s corruption trial for misappropriating 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds today.

The long conversation, which went on until an hour, led Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to imply that the 52-year-old former banker had an “inappropriate” close relationship with the fugitive businessman, which Yu disagreed.

Shafee at the outset of the trial zoomed in on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chats between Yu and Low on the issuance of RM5 million in cheque by Najib to Umno.

The chat which started from 12.41am on Aug 21, 2014 was about Low’s instruction to Yu to clear the cheque (issued by Najib to Umno).

Shafee: I wish I had a banker who would stay up all night to get my instructions. You stay up late at night, early in the morning, at 5am with Low.

Yu: The 5am chats were from Low but I only replied to him at 7am.

Shafee: In another chat, you respond to him at 1am. Odd.

Yu: Before I went to bed? Yes.

Shafee: I would not dare to contact my banker at such odd hours.

The senior lawyer then moved his questions on Yu’s visit to Low’s apartment, which Yu clarified was for work-related reasons.

Shafee: Were you married then?

Yu: Yes.

Shafee: Your husband does not mind?

This had prompted Deputy Public Prosecutor Deepa Nair Thevaharan to interject and say: “It is very inappropriate to ask, Yang Arif”.

Sequerah then reminded Shafee not to take the question further.

Yu, however, answered the question and said that she was never alone with Low in his apartment.

Earlier, Yu testified that Low would often invite her for meetings at his apartment together with several of his close associates.

Najib, 70, 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.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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