Saturday, May 21, 2022

Najib calls US$8 billion 1MDB suit an abuse of court process

He says the names of the actual wrongdoers behind the losses suffered by the sovereign wealth fund were removed from its legal action.

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Najib Razak has claimed that the US$8 billion civil suit filed against him by 1MDB and its four subsidiaries is an abuse of the court process as the names of the actual wrongdoers behind the massive losses suffered by the sovereign wealth fund were removed from its legal action.

The former prime minister said the action by 1MDB and its four subsidiaries had caused suspicion and that they had been disingenuous in filing the suit and retaining his name as one of the defendants.

The four subsidiaries are 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, 1MDB Energy Limited, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited, and British Virgin Islands-based Global Diversified Investment Company Limited (formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Limited).

“It is apparent from the amended writ summons that the wrongdoers that were initially named were removed. This casts suspicion and was disingenuous on the part of the plaintiffs in the filing of this suit, thus amounting to an abuse of process,” he said.

However, Najib, 68, did not state the names of the defendants who were dropped from the suit.

He said this in his statement of defence filed on March 28 in response to the US$8 billion civil suit filed against him and seven others over 1MDB’s financial losses due to the alleged abuse of power and breach of fiduciary duties.

The Pekan MP also said that the statement of defence was filed without prejudice to his right to file further interlocutory applications, such as to amend the defence or to strike out the whole suit.

“At this juncture, this statement of defence is also filed without prejudice to the first defendant’s right to remain silent in relation to the ongoing criminal trial (1MDB),” he said.

Initially, 15 individuals including Najib were named in the lawsuit. However, seven – former CEOs Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi; former directors Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Ismee Ismail, Ong Gim Huat and Ashvin Jethanand Valiram; and former chief financial officer Azmi Tahir – were dropped.

The remaining defendants in the suit, including Najib, are Loo Ai Swan, Tang Keng Chee, Geh Choh Heng, Vincent Beng Huat Koh, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, Kelvin Tan Kay Jin and Radhi Mohamad.

As of today, Ismee, Shahrol, Hazem and Azmi have also testified as prosecution witnesses in the ongoing criminal trial against the former prime minister in the RM2.3 billion 1MDB corruption case.

The US$8 billion suit is one of 22 civil suits filed to claim over US$23 billion on behalf of 1MDB and its former subsidiary SRC International against several individuals allegedly involved in the financial scandal.

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