1MDB's US$8b civil suit against Najib on hold till 1MDB-Tanore trial is finished

1MDB's US$8b civil suit against Najib on hold till 1MDB-Tanore trial is finished
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 11): The US$8 billion (about RM33.5 billion) civil suit against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and several others filed by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) will not go on until the conclusion of his 1MDB-Tanore criminal case.

At the High Court here on Friday (Feb 11), lawyers representing Najib and 1MDB came to a mutual agreement to allow the 1MDB-Tanore criminal trial, where Najib is the only accused, to finish before commencing the civil trial.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is representing Najib in both trials, told reporters after Friday morning's proceedings that both parties had reached the agreement mutually and Judicial Commissioner Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad had allowed it.

Previously, Najib had filed for a court order to stay the proceedings.

However, lawyer Datuk DP Naban, who is acting for 1MDB, said that with the mutual agreement in place the application for a stay of proceedings was withdrawn.

With the withdrawal of the stay application, Najib has been directed by the court to file his defence to the suit within 30 days from today. The next case management is fixed on March 15.

Earlier this week, Najib was issued a Mareva injunction in relation to this suit.

A Mareva injunction is a court order that effectively freezes the assets of the person facing legal action. It is to prevent the transfer of assets that may include money held in banks or financial institutions.

The Mareva injunction against Najib allows him to withdraw up to RM100,000 monthly from his bank accounts.

The injunction is to prevent the dissipation of the US$681 million claimed against Najib and several others.

Najib took to social media to deny any claims that he has such money in his possession and said that this was a political game against him ahead of the Johor snap polls.

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

Named as defendants in this suit are Najib, former 1MDB deputy chief financial officer and executive finance director Terence Geh Choh Heng, former general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, executive director of business development Casey Tang Keng Chee, former director of investments and chief investment officer Vincent Beng Huat Koh, former chief financial officer and subsequently chief operating officer Radhi Mohamad, former director of investments Kelvin Tan Kay Jim and former chief investment officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

Tan filed his defence and counterclaim on Sept 17, while Beng and Radhi Mohamad have sought extension of time to file their defence.

Meanwhile, Geh, Tang and Nik Faisal have yet to be served with the writ of summons, as they are still believed to be fugitives. 1MDB has now applied to serve the writ by substituted service.

In the claim against Najib, 1MDB said the former chairman of the board of advisers had approved or facilitated the companies to enter into sham agreements to create a circuitous trail of money to facilitate or conceal the misappropriation of 1MDB funds.

1MDB and its subsidiaries also contend that he disregarded his obligations under Article 117, and abused his powers in exercising his public functions to maliciously commit fraud and misappropriation, resulting in the fraudulent transfer of funds and losses to them.

They contend that Najib should have foreseen the losses incurred due to such acts of misappropriation during each of the phases, losses that every Malaysian now has to bear.

They also claim that Najib abused his position in causing further losses and hence, they are entitled to aggravated and exemplary damages because of his actions in obstructing and hindering investigations into the wrongdoings, whereby he obtained secret profits for himself or his agents.

They further allege that Najib had taken advantage of his position and power to influence, facilitate and cause fraud so that management complied with his stated intentions that ran contrary to 1MDB’s corporate objectives, national interests and the interests of Minister of Finance Inc, to benefit his stepson Riza Aziz, Jho Low and others.

Read also:
Najib: Why demand RM2.6b when I can’t even pay the RM1.7b sought by IRB
1MDB, subsidiaries obtain Mareva injunction to freeze Najib's assets, allows ex-PM to withdraw maximum RM100,000/month from bank accounts
1MDB and SRC file multibillion-dollar civil suits against those alleged to be responsible for fraud

Surin Murugiah