Forex RCI: Up to US$1b traded daily, says former dealer

07 Sep 2017 / 16:14 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The Royal Commission of Inquiry on the foreign exchange losses suffered by Bank Negara was told today by a former foreign exchange dealer that up to US$1 billion was traded in a day, on the instructions of the bank's former advisor Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.
Azman Mat Ali, the eighteenth witness to take the stand this morning said that all transactions were carried out on the instructions from either the advisor or chief dealer then.
"I cannot remember specifically the highest amount traded in a day based on the instructions received from the chief dealer. But the amount can go as high as a few billion USD in a day. I did not dare to carry out any transactions without instructions from either the chief dealer or Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop," Azman said in his sworn testimony.
BNM's chief dealers then were Lim Tam Mee (1988 - 1989), Selvaraj (1989 - 1990) and Chau Tiong Chin (1990 - 1994 or 1995), he told the RCI.
Judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin pressed him if he remembers how much was the highest amount that was traded.
"You say the amount traded can go up to billions of dollars, do you remember how much was the highest amount that was traded?" he asked Azman.
Azman replied he could not and refused to give even an estimate as it may be the wrong amount.
The inquiry chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan probed further, asking if it was possible the amount traded was higher than USD1 billion.
"Yes, most likely," he answered.
Meanwhile, when asked if there were any involvement of any personalities in the trading done, hinting at a possible involvement of then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Azman said that he doesn't know if there were any.
He, however, said Dr Mahathir had never entered the trading room where he was working in Kuala Lumpur.
Azmin was a foreign exchange dealer with BNM from August 8, 1988 until 1998 until he was promoted to a manager and was with the Bonds Section, BNM.
He is currently the director of Foreign Exchange Management Department.
Meanwhile, former auditor general Tan Sri Dr Hadenan A. Jalil testified that while he was the secretary in the Finance Department, Treasury denied to ever having a discussion about the foreign exchange losses sustained by BNM between 1990 to 1994.
"I at no time as the secretary in the Finance Department, Treasury held any discussions about the forex losses sustained by BNM with the Prime Minister then."
The RCI will continue after lunch.

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