Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak claims to be vindicated by the tapped phone calls released by the MACC this morning.
Referring to the recorded phone conversations between him and United Arab Emirates crown prince Mohammed Zayed Al Nahyan on July 22, 2016, he said the recordings proved he had not been lying about the 1MDB scandal.
Najib (photo) said it showed an attempt to resolve the 1MDB matter amicably between the two countries, and that he and his stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz were unaware of the source of the funds invested in Riza’s company Red Granite Pictures.
“What happened was that after Riza started repaying the investments, the company Aabar BVI was closed in late 2014.
“So, Riza and I asked for a new agreement from the Abu Dhabi government so that Riza could continue repaying the investment according to schedule.
“The main goal was to resolve the repayment of the investment because Riza did not want anything to do with problematic funds.
“The new deal I requested was not a cover-up, because it wouldn’t make sense for the (US) Department of Justice to believe a document signed in 2016 and backdated to 2012 when Riza started receiving the funds, because there was already an original investment agreement at the time,” he wrote in a Facebook post today.
He said the MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya had slandered him by alleging a conspiracy to cover up the 1MDB scandal.
“This is very strange because the MACC is aware of the original investment agreement in 2012 from Aabar BVI, which was signed by the Aabar CEO when they started investing in Riza’s film,” he said.
Aabar BVI was a firm established in the British Virgin Islands by Aabar Investments PJS CEO Mohamed Ahmed Badawy al-Husseiny and Khadem al-Qubaisi, the latter of whom is the International Petroleum Investment Company managing director.
The DOJ previously alleged that despite the similar names and being run by the same personalities, Aabar BVI is not related to the IPIC subsidiary Aabar. This was done to siphon 1MDB funds.
It said some of the money had landed in Riza’s studio to produce films such as The Wolf of Wall Street and Dumb and Dumber To.
The DOJ and Red Granite Pictures eventually settled its 1MDB-linked civil forfeiture suits after the latter paid US$60 million, plus interest, without admitting liability or wrongdoing.
Najib, meanwhile, had disputed the DOJ’s assertions.
As for the recordings, Najib said his lawyer has proposed asking the MACC to tender them in court as evidence in his and Riza’s 1MDB-related cases because it would help in their cases.
“However, before being used in court, it must first be verified as authentic and done according to law, including whether there is an element of mala fide when the recording was made,” he said.
Earlier, Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said recordings produced anonymously would not be admissible in court.