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Louis Vuitton chief on 1MDB's advisors board, court hears

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The High Court here today was told that fugitive businessman Low Teak Jho or Jho Low had suggested four individuals including LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE chairperson and chief executive, Bernard Arnault as the board of advisers (BoA) of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Former chief executive officer (CEO) of 1MDB, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said these figures were Arnault, Hamad Jassim Jaber Al Thani (prime minister of Qatar at that time), chairperson of CITIC Group of China Chang Zhenming, and Mubadala CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

The 49-year-old witness said this when cross-examined by Najib Abdul Razak's lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 20th day of the former premier’s trial over 1MDB funds.

Muhammad Shafee: All the names were suggested by Jho Low?

Shahrol: Yes.

Muhammad Shafee: All of four names went into international advisor in BoA. None of them attending a single meeting?

Shahrol: Yes.

However, the ninth prosecution witnesses said that it was difficult to find an opportunity to get all of them together at one place.

Shahrol also said that a letter of appointment to the BoA was sent to these figures, including Arnault whom he personally met in Paris to deliver the appointment letter.

He said Arnault had verbally accepted his appointment to the board while Chang had also replied with a letter of acceptance.

Asked by Muhammad Shafee on the logic behind the appointment of figures like Arnault, who is in the fashion business, Shahrol said that he (Arnault) was among the top businessperson in the world at that time.

"Bernard Arnault clearly was one of the leading business people in the world. I think that's enough justification. He was among top five richest, I think," he said.

Najib, 66, faces 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.

Hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues Monday, with senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution.

- Bernama

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