A series of letters, allegedly from a Saudi prince, have been uploaded to former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s Facebook page to justify that deposits of billions of ringgits in his personal bank accounts were a gift from the kingdom.
However, these letters – signed by one “Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud” – are very similar to a separate series of letters addressed to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho by his close associate Eric Tan Kim Loong.
Tan had signed the letters to Low when he “offered” at least US$137 million (RM571.98 million at current rates) in various works of art, which the US Department of Justice says have acquired with funds misappropriated from 1MDB.
The letters to Low read: “Any artwork offered to you should not be construed as bribery in any way as this is contrary to the business and/or my principles and I do not personally not encourage such practices in any way.
“The gift(s) is/are simply a token of appreciation and I hope the gift(s) for you will encourage you to continue your good work on a global scale.”
Some sentences from these paragraphs were reproduced in the letter allegedly sent by the Saudi prince to Najib promising him donations.
The conclusion of the letter reads: “The gift should in no way be construed as an act of corruption as this is against the practice of Islam and I personally do not encourage such practices in any way. whether it be.
“This is just a personal token of appreciation and I hope this gift will encourage you to continue your good work promoting Islam and the world.”
Najib, in a AlJazeera interview aired this morning, was asked to address this issue by her interviewer Mary Ann Jolley.
“There are serious questions about the authenticity of the letter.
“How do you explain the fact that the letter from the Saudi prince uses exactly the same phrases as the letter written by a very close associate of Low offering him millions of dollars worth of artwork?” she asked.
However, Najib said he was unaware of the letters to Low, pointing out that he assumed the funds coming into his bank accounts came from legitimate Saudi sources.
“The only reason I accepted (the money) was when I had assurances from former King Abdullah that he would support me and the initial donations came from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance. .
“I assumed that subsequent donations would also come from sources linked to the Saudis. I am not aware of letters written by Low in other cases, as you mentioned.
“But let the authorities review and investigate. If Low or anyone else is responsible for the embezzlement, then they must be held accountable,” he said.
Besides the initial US$80 million (RM334 million) from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance, investigators believe that at least US$971 million (RM4.05 billion) that entered Najib’s bank accounts came from 1MDB.