By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators confirmed that the agency successfully recorded a statement from Ashok Ramamurthy (former Managing Director of Ambank) at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore.

Ashok stated that Cheah Teck Kuang (Former Ambank Group Managing Director) arranged for the opening of the account in 2011. Ashok also referred to a letter dated 21.9.2012 addressed to the governor, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the common 'Ringgit Operations Monitoring System Reporting For Remittances' opening a Dato’ Sri Najib Razak current account with AmIslamic Bank Bhd with the expectation that funds will be received from abroad. The funds will then be channeled to charity.

The same letter also specifically informed the Governor and Bank Negara that from its opening until July 2012, the account received funds from Prince Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Alsaud, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Ministry of Finance, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and Blackstone Asia Real Estate Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Alsaud, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Ministry of Finance, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, Singapore. Ambank, through the same letter, is ready to provide more information on the operation of the account to the Governor and the Financial Intelligence Unit of Bank Negara.

When questioned earlier, the Governor denied ever receiving such a letter. However, according to Ashok's statement, the Governor refused to accept the same letter, and she did not want any evidence of the said letter in her office. She then instructed Ashok to refer the matter to her deputy governor.

She maintained that he had met with Ashok Ramamurthy and Cheah Teck Kuang purely as a matter of courtesy. According to Tan Sri Zeti, the courtesy meeting was only to introduce Ashok as the new CEO of Ambank and that this was not the time, place or forum to deal with transactions involving the Prime Minister's account.

Strangely enough, Tan Sri Zeti agreed that during her courtesy meeting with Cheah Teck Kuang a few months earlier, they had actually opened an account by DSN with Ambank.

According to Ashok's statement to the MACC, Ambank Bank Negara regarding transactions in the DSN account through another letter Tan Sri Zeti maintained that Bank Negara did not have the letter.

The Defence argued that the Governor of Bank Negara had every reason to deny receiving the update from Ambank to avoid the fact that the millions received by Tan Sri Zeti's family members were also related to Ambank through RM 5 Billion Medium Term Islamic Bond that was raised.

When the notes were fully subscribed and sold to secondary customers by entities related to Jho Low, part of the profits went into the company owned by Tan Sri Zeti's husband and their children.

Cheah Tek Kuang (former CEO of Ambank) was called back to answer questions following the statement given by Ashok Ramamurthy (Cheah Tek Kuang's successor as CEO of Ambank) to MACC investigators.

The judge allowed the application because Ashok's statement was not submitted or brought to the attention of the defence during Cheah's re-examination.

The statement, among others, shows that Bank Negara is always aware and informed about donations and transactions related to Dato' Sri Najib Razak's account managed at Ambank through briefings and correspondence.

Despite Tan Sri Zeti's testimony, Cheah Tek Kuang supported Ashok's claim that the Governor read the letter prepared on Ambank letterhead but returned the same letter to Ashok.

The letter informed Bank Negara about transactions related to Dato' Sri Najib's account at Ambank Ashok said Tan Sri Zeti read the letter but refused a copy.

Tan Sri Zeti previously testified that the meeting was just a courtesy call, and that Ashok had not shown her such a letter.

Cheah Tek Kuang could not give any reason to doubt the claims in Ashok's statement recorded by MACC especially the fact that Ambank had informed Bank Negara.