“Prince Saud Abdul Aziz did not sign MACC statement because he had immunity”

“Prince Saud Abdul Aziz did not sign MACC statement because he had immunity”

KUALA LUMPUR: A senior officer of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) told the High Court yesterday that Prince Saud Abdul Aziz Malik Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, did not sign a statement he made to the MACC in Riyadh because the prince had immunity.

The prince’s statement was allegedly related to four letters connected to a donation totalling RM2.6 billion from the Saudi royal family to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

Senior Asst Comm Fikri Ab Rahim said the MACC did not get to directly interview Prince Saud Abdul Aziz but had to do so through the prince’s lawyer, Muhammad Abdullah Al Koman.

“Al Koman also signed the statement given by Prince Saud Abdul Aziz on behalf of the prince,” Fikri said during examination-in-chief by Najib’s legal counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, on the 87th day of the corruption trial of Najib, in connection with the misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Recalling the events which occurred on Nov 29, 2015, Fikri who was the director of MACC’s Anti-Money Laundering & Forfeiture of Properties (AMLFOP) Division at the time, said that when the MACC team had arrived at the palace of the Saudi royal family, they were introduced to three Arab princes comprising Prince Faisal, Prince Turki and Prince Saud Abdul Aziz.

“Before their statements were taken, they agreed to show us their passports but we were not allowed to make photocopies because Prince Turki informed us that they had immunity.

“The MACC team also could not be in close proximity with the princes because of royal protocol,” said the 12th witness for the defence.

During re-examination by Shafee, Fikri added that while in Riyadh, the MACC team had taken the statement of Eric Tan Kim Loong who is alleged to be an associate of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (also known as Jho Low), to assist with investigations.

“Eric Tan looked like he was familiar with the palace environment and could speak directly with the three princes, compared with us (the MACC team) as we were very careful and apprehensive during our time at the palace,” Fikri said, going on to inform the court that the MACC had come to an understanding with Tan and his lawyer, Datuk Selva Mookiah, that Tan would not be arrested if he cooperated with the agency.

The witness said the same arrangement had been made with two other individuals connected with SRC International, comprising its former chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and former director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin.

Najib has claimed trial to seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd – these comprise three charges for criminal breach of trust (CBT), three for money laundering, and one for abuse of position.

Hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.