There were, it is safe to say, many points at which the bilking of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB could have been halted before it ballooned into a $9 billion scandal featuring indictments against the former prime minister and more than a dozen current and former Goldman Sachs executives. For example, a Goldman eyebrow might have been raised about the need for the prime minister’s bank and credit card statements to be picked up by hand, or about the exotic career of one T. Leissner before it was too late. Perhaps someone should have considered how the prime minister’s stepson was financing a major Hollywood movie. More probing questions might have been asked about those amazing parties thrown by someone no one anyone had ever heard of a decade ago.
Then again, it’s entirely possible that none of this would have mattered, as the former CEO of 1MDB, it must be said, is an extraordinarily credulous man.
Shafee: This is not making fun of you, but rarely someone will agree when I say you trusted 100 per cent in Jho Low.
Shahrol: I did.
Shahrol: Because of his actions, as well as actions of Datuk Seri Najib around him. From the very beginning, about how he seems to have access. One anecdote I can share with the court was that I’m known to make very good nasi goreng. So I treated Jho for some nasi goreng and he asked whether he could bring some to Datuk Seri Najib.
Shahrol said he had agreed with Low’s request to bring some fried rice to Najib, noting Low’s subsequent feedback: “And he said Datuk Seri Najib said ‘this was very good’, words to that effect.”
Acknowledging that he did not personally verify if Najib had tried his nasi goreng, Shahrol said this bolstered his confidence of Low’s ties with Najib, in addition to other events over time….
Shafee: Datuk Seri Najib never even said ‘Shahrol, that nasi goreng was damn good’.
Shahrol: No, unfortunately no.
I mean, if a story about leftover rice—and the alleged connivance or unknowing assistance of the world’s leading financial institutions, and also Deutsche Bank, depending on who you ask—is all it takes to steal $4.5 billion, someone was going to figure it out eventually.