KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was today told that an additional RM1 billion which was invested in the 1MDB-PetroSaudi International Ltd joint-venture was approved by Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, in 2011.

Former CEO of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi who said this, also expressed his disagreement at the suggestion that the sovereign fund’s board of directors (BOD) recommended Najib (the preference rights shareholder) to approve the additional fund.

The 49-year-old witness said this when he was shown his witness statement which referred to a Special Rights Redeemable Preference Shareholder Resolution dated May 16, 2011, by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 33rd day of the former premier’s 1MDB trial.

Muhammad Shafee, who read out Shahrol Azral’s witness statement said that Najib, who was then acted in his capacity as finance minister via Minister of Finance Incorporated, signed an agreement for the additional RM1 billion investment in the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture via Murabaha Financing Agreement.

Muhammad Shafee: From the manner of your testimony just now, you were saying that the board recommended without a doubt to the special right preference shareholder to sign because they (BOD) were quite happy with the PSI meeting in London?

Shahrol Azral: No ... they were satisfied with that meeting with PSI and in that meeting with Najib before the board meeting. The board was satisfied that this was inline with what was strategic to Najib as well as for the country. I do not agree that the board recommended to Najib.

To another question, the witness said that the board was ‘happy’ and comfortable with PSI and satisfied with the explanation by Tarek Obaid (PSI’s CEO) and Patrick Mahony (PSI’s director) to Najib (the chairman of the board of advisors) during the PSI office visit in London on May 16, 2011.

He said he was in both meetings between 1MDB board and PSI, and the meeting of 1MDB board, PSI, and Najib.

When asked why the RM1 billion (additional loan) was not discussed in the 1MDB director‘s circular resolution (DCR), the witness said the matter was discussed but it was not documented in the minutes.

Muhammad Shafee: Can I ask you, for the third time, can you show me which part of the minutes documented that the board discussed the matter in the DCR?

Shahrol Azral: I repeat, for the third time, it was discussed at an earlier meeting on April 4, 2011, in Kuala Lumpur, and the whole purpose for the board to visit PSI was to ensure that they are comfortable with PSI before signing the DCR.

Muhammad Shafee: I put it to you that the matter in the DCR was purposely not put before the board to disable the board from having a full discussion on it?

Shahrol Azral: I absolutely disagree.

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.

The hearing before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues, with senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution. - Bernama