How did that happen? Or is it just how easy it is for a fake entity to get billions wired to it without lawyers, company owners and businessmen or bankers realising the whole deal is a con?
Well, this is exactly what happened in Malaysia while Najib Razak was ruling as the Prime Minister.
On 19th Apr 2022, the High Court heard that none of the up to 40 persons who reviewed agreements signed by 1Malaysia Development Bhd or 1MDB with “Aabar,” including bankers and attorneys, realised the latter was a forgery.
This was told by former 1MDB CFO Azmi Tahir who is testifying as the 12th prosecution witness in the ex-prime minister’s trial for misappropriating more than RM2 billion in 1MDB money.
When shown many agreements between 1MDB subsidiaries and the bogus Aabar, including those signed in 2012, Azmi stated that he had no idea the Aabar Investments PJS Limited in the agreements was a bogus organisation at the time.
Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, a shell company established in the Seychelles, received US$699.3 million when the monies should have gone to the true Aabar Investments PJS.
The funds were meant to be used to repurchase the International Petroleum Investment Company’s (IPIC) 49 percent stake in 1MDB’s subsidiary firms, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Ltd and 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd.
Grilled by Najib’s counsel, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, Azmi said, “My task was to disburse funds as instructed by the board.”
When Najib’s lawyer asked him whether he would agree that there were differences in the name of the two companies, he replied no, he did not realise the difference.
“No. It was never brought up. Even “30 or 40 pairs of eyes” did not look into (spot) that. The adviser should have told us.”
In response to a follow-up question from the defence counsel, Azmi stated that he only followed the orders of his then-deputy, Terence Geh.
He also said he believed the direction originated from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, and Najib.