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Monday, July 26, 2021

1MDB withdraws US$1b lawsuit against legal firm, lawyer

 


1MDB has withdrawn the US$1 billion lawsuit against its former legal firm Wong & Partners as well as lawyer Brian Chia Hock Gee.

According to a copy of an order by the Kuala Lumpur High Court dated July 19, the sovereign wealth fund retracted the legal action against the firm and the lawyer.

The court document stated that the writ of summons was withdrawn with no liberty to file afresh, and that there is no order as to costs.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, 1MDB’s counsel Lim Chee Wee declined to comment on the matter.

At present, 1MDB and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd have filed 22 civil actions against various personalities and entities for allegedly defrauding them, whether knowingly or unknowingly. 

The suit against the law firm and the lawyer was part of these numerous suits.

The suit was seeking around US$27 billion from the defendants.

Among those named as defendants included ex-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, ex-1MDB chairperson Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, and ex-1MDB CEOs Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, and Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Several family members of fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho were also named, including his father Larry Low Hock Peng and sister Low May Lin. His associates Eric Tan Kim Loong and Tarek Obaid, who was also the PetroSaudi International Ltd founder, were also named.

Other entities named were Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Ltd as well as Swiss-based Coutts & Co Ltd and JP Morgan (Switzerland) Ltd.

According to a report by The Edge Markets,  a source familiar with the suits were quoted as saying that the criminal cases in the 1MDB scandal were proceeding too slowly and the civil suits will demonstrate Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's seriousness in the issue.

Najib was on July 28 last year sentenced to 12 years in prison and an RM210 million fine for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering involving RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd. 

Najib is appealing the case and the matter is now at the Court of Appeal. His 1MDB-related charges are still at the High Court.

Malaysia had earlier received RM10.5 billion (US$2.5 billion) from Goldman Sachs in August 2020 with a further asset recovery guarantee of RM5.88 billion (US$1.4 billion).

The government has also received part of the agreed RM2.83 billion settlement from the AmBank Group, and received RM336 million (US$80 million) from auditor Deloitte PLT.

Recently, it was also reported that the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc) and its subsidiary 1MDB had filed a suit against 44 partners of KPMG Malaysia, in relation to its audit of the sovereign wealth fund. - Mkini

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