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Beneficiary owner who sent billions to Najib claims he didn't know who got the money
Published:  Mar 3, 2020 9:10 AM
Updated: 9:21 AM

Tan Kim Loong, a name that has repeatedly cropped up in the 1MDB scandal as the beneficiary owner of several companies which sent billions of ringgit to former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak's bank accounts between 2011 and 2015, claims he didn't know who he was sending the money to.

This is according to a statement he provided to the MACC on November 27, 2015, in Saudi Arabia, which was today tendered in the Kuala Lumpur High Court for Najib's SRC International graft trial.

The statement is the only source for Tan's side of the story as he cannot be located by authorities.  

In the statement, Tan claimed that Prince Saud Abdul Aziz Malik Abdul Aziz al-Saud had appointed him to act as a nominee for his father, the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud and other members of the royal family.

Tan was also asked by the MACC about the US$681 million deposit into Najib's bank account, which was often referred to as "RM2.6 billion" in Malaysia based on the exchange rate when details the transaction first became public in the middle of 2015.

"I am unable to recall the details of these other remittances of approximately US$620 million and US$61 million and any other payments paid from our various assets/investment companies/funding arrangements.

"It was also brought to my attention recently after news reports that these remittances were paid into Najib's account(s) with Ambank Malaysia but, again, I would not know who were the past payees or beneficiaries of the various payments as I would just sign on whatever documentation directed to be signed by my principals," he had said in the statement.

Investigators believe the US$681 million originated from Tanore Finance Corporation, which is beneficially owned by Tan Kim Loong. Investigators had traced the funds to 1MDB's bond raised for a joint-venture with Abu Dhabi Malaysia Investment Company (ADMIC).

Najib was believed to also have received US$170 million from Blackstone Real Estate Partner Ltd, also beneficially-owned by Tan.

Investigators had traced funds from Blackstone to two others bonds by 1MDB intended for the acquisition of power assets.

Tan maintained that he cannot disclose information without his principal's authorisation.

"I am not authorised under any circumstances to disclose any information concerning there arrangements.

"I understand that any breach shall result in severe punishment under the laws of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," he had said.

While fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho had been implicated as a key figure in the alleged siphoning of 1MDB funds, many of the front companies were in Tan's name.

The 1MDB-related trial in Singapore's court has also heard that Low sometimes used Tan's name to communicate with bankers.

Najib is standing trial for seven charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power involving RM42 million in funds from SRC International.

The case is being presided over by High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

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