Friday, October 22, 2021

Hearing of suit on US$340 million linked to 1MDB postponed pending response from UK law firm

This is to give Clyde & Co LLP time to confirm if it wants to file an affidavit on the documents served to it.

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The hearing of the government’s application to block PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) and its director, Tarek Obaid, from using over US$340 million linked to 1MDB and kept in a client’s account at a UK law firm has been postponed.

Justice Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh postponed the hearing, which had been set for today, to give time for law firm Clyde & Co LLP in the UK, to confirm whether it wished to respond and to file an affidavit on the documents served to it.

This came after deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed told Shahir that the prosecution had served the documents on the three foreign entities named in the application, namely Petrosaudi International Limited in Saudi Arabia, as well as the two London-based companies, Clyde & Co and Temple Fiduciary Services Limited.

“We are in contact with the National Crime Agency (NCA) representative, Danial Murphy, and he confirmed that the UK government had served the documents to Clyde & Co on Oct 1.

“He also conveyed the court’s message to Clyde & Co whether the firm wanted to respond, but until now we have not received anything from them,” said Budiman.

He also told the court the legal firm had acknowledged receipt of the documents by its representative, Sarah Wheatly.

“After speaking to parties and in the interest of justice, perhaps Clyde & Co should be allowed some time to respond to the application and the prosecution will be in communication with the NCA for an update from the legal firm,” he said.

Lawyer Alex Tan and Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, representing PSI’s South American subsidiary company, PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd (PSOS-VZ) and Tarek Obaid, respectively, did not object to the prosecution’s application.

Shahrir then fixed Oct 22 for case management for the prosecution to update the court on Clyde & Co’s response.

On July 16 last year, the court granted the government’s application for an interim order to block the parties from moving the monies linked to 1MDB, kept in a client’s account at the UK-based law firm, to other entities.

The interim order is to maintain the status quo of the parties until the disposal of the government’s prohibition application seeking an order to restrain any dealings on the monies belonging to PSI and PSOS-VZ which are currently in an escrow account held by Clyde & Co.

Besides the US$340 million, the government, in its application is also seeking an unspecified amount of money deposited under an intermediate account name, Temple Fiduciary Services Limited, at Barclays Bank in the UK.

The application, filed under Section 53 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, named Tarek, PSI, PSOS-VZ, Clyde & Co and Temple Fiduciary as the first to fifth respondents.

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