Najib’s defence is that a crew of conniving aides (some dead others departed into hiding), together with craven bank managers, conspired to stuff billions into his bank account for him to spend as he chose on the basis of a terrible ruse.
The ruse was that a foreign king had decided to shower favours on him to prop up his regime because of all the religious good he apparently promoted, having held a conference supporting moderate Islam.
Najib believed this (naturally) and so far neither he nor anybody else has even bothered to discuss the appropriateness or legality of allowing a foreign power to pour money into influencing Malaysia’s power politics in this way.
Prosecutors have ignored the matter, because they say it didn’t happen. However, maybe they should test him on why he thought it acceptable to secretly receive such sums, since this fabulous argument has become his main excuse.
Najib has parried in his prepared statement that he knew that other organisations, like the Clinton Foundation, had benefitted from Saudi donations so he considered his windfall to be a similar event. Well, Sarawak Report has Googled that donation (as Najib could have done) and the Clinton Foundation received $10 million from the King of Saudi Arabia for its charitable concerns.
Najib recieved over a billion dollars to be spent at his personal discretion?
The other question Najib needs to answer is why did he make no effort whatsoever to directly approach and thank the Saudi King? That should have put him right! Instead, he relied on his intermediary Jho Low to do all the talking and all the thanking and begging and all the rest? No wonder AmBank assumed that Jho Low spoke for Najib when it came to his bank accounts.
According to his clever testimony, Najib only realised something was amiss when he was “shocked” to read the truth in Sarawak Report (which detailed on July 2nd 2015 how the money entering his AmBank accounts had actually come from SRC and 1MDB). The AmBank managers must have been totally misled in that case, imagining Najib was in on the plot and so neglecting to tell him directly that his web of accounts managed by third parties were a nest of blatant money laundering.
Funny that Najib knew enough about the money to spend it on fancy diamonds and anti-aging treatments for his wife, without worrying that he might have to account for such non-moderate muslim expenditures to the Saudi King some day.
One problem (among so many problems) with this evolving retrospective narrative is how Najib factually reacted when shocked by those revelations of the truth back in 2015. Did the prime minister gasp with horror and immediately open up about the situation inviting investigators to pick up Jho Low and all the rest who had tricked him so?
Did he profusely thank Xavier Justo, The Edge and Sarawak Report for having revealed the truth that had eluded him so long? Did he thank the Swiss authorities for freezing the millions secreted out from SRC into a Falcon Bank account and agree to cooperate with the Swiss, Singaporean and finally US authorities as over the months more devastating evidence was unveiled by these agencies?
That is what a genuinely innocent and shocked victim of a conspiracy would surely have done. He would have admitted at that point that he had been told that all this money had come from an Arab Prince, but actually it looked as if he had been tricked by Jho Low.
However, what Najib actually did was deny Jho Low had any involvement with 1MDB, SRC or himself; orchestrate the imprisonment of Xavier Justo in a Thai jail (and intervene personally in diplomatic pressure to keep him in there); authorise an INTERPOL Red Notice alert against Sarawak Report to be arrested and extradited to Malaysia on terror charges; arrest the Edge editor for sedition and unconstitutionally sack the AG who had attempted to bring charges over SRC.
Najib then appointed a toady AG who claimed there had been no wrong doing at 1MDB, that there had been no money lost and closed the case. How can the allegedly innocent and gulled Najib explain these reactions now that he admits that he had at last realised how the wool had been pulled over his eyes until that point?
Why did he also continue to lie about Jho Low’s role at 1MDB and producing money from an ‘Arab Prince’ right until he lost the last election? Likewise, why did he make no efforts to get to the bottom of what had been going on at SRC in order to get its money repatriated from the Swiss? Why did he refuse to cooperate with international investigations?
Despite Najib having by 2015 been confronted with the truth, there were no arrest warrants issued for the likes of Jho nor indeed for the dirty deceptor in charge of his AmBank accounts, Nik Arif Faisal Kamil, who was allowed to continue living a protected life in KL right up until the election, after which he fled?
Having realised back in 2015 that he had been tricked by such characters, surely Najib should have taken firm action to arrest and punish these awful tricksters who had provided him with so much money on false pretences in order to lay the matter to rest and retreive as many funds as possible?
Instead, none of these confessions about having been tricked came to light until Najib found himself in the dock having to face the facts. Likewise, the former PM has changed his story about the iron grip he held over SRC and 1MDB, saying he had no daily control over the bloated funds, leaving it to others. He is even seeking to claim that signatures he originally admitted were his, authorising actions at SRC, might now be fake.
Does this all amount to the creation of sufficient doubt? One would hardly rate Najib’s chances on such a bunch of tales with a good old fashioned jury, so why should he think a judge would prove more gullible.