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1MDB money used to buy land in Ayer Itam, court hears



KUALA LUMPUR: A portion of a US $ 3 billion bond (RM12.39 billion) raised by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) was used to buy land in Ayer Itam, Penang, and in the Umnos political campaign during the 13th Election. General in 2013, the Supreme Court heard.

Former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, 48, said this was acknowledged by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a ceramah (campaign speech) where he said the land would be developed by 1MDB as an affordable housing project.

When asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Mustafa P. Kunyalam how the witness knew about the case, Hazem said he followed the lease.

The money was used in mid-2013 to buy Ayer Itam Estate Lands in Penang which cost roughly RM1bil, paying off debts to Standard Chartered around RM2bil and was also used to pay off other loan interest, he said on Tuesday ( September 15).

He was reading from his 110-page witness statement at the 1MDB trial involving Najib who is accused of misappropriating 2.28 RM in 1MDBs funds.

Land acquisition, however, was never discussed at the board’s level, he said.

The witness said the money had not been agreed to be used to pay off the debt and should have been used for the Abu Dhabi-Malaysia Investment Company (Admic) joint venture as well as to finance the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project.

Of the $ 3 billion bond issued, only about US $ 2.7 billion (RM11.15bil) was taken from 1MDBs subsidiary 1MDB Global Investment Ltd (1MDB GIL) after deducting all management costs with Goldman Sachs and (the money) was kept in a 1MDB GIL Account at BSI Bank in Lugano, Switzerland, “he said.

Najib, 67, is facing four counts of abuse of his position to obtain satisfaction amounting to RM 2.28 in 1MDB funds and 21 money laundering charges involving the same money.

The Collin Lawrence Sequerah trial continues on Thursday (September 17).

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