Easy Money? But Where Will It Go And What About Abu Dhabi's Billions Owed?
Four law firms have filed a plethora of 22 civil suits to claim billions of US dollars on behalf of state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
The firms of Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership (RDS), Skrine & Co, Lim Chee Wee Partnership and Shearne Delamore filed the suits last Friday in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur and the Sessions Court in Shah Alam.
Various claims were made against individuals like former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his stepson Riza Aziz, former 1MDB office bearers like Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, and former chief executive officers (CEOs) of 1MDB Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Arul Kanda Kandasamy and Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman.
Also named in the suits are fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), his father Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng, sister Low May Lin and Jho Low’s close associate Eric Tan Kim Loong.
Foreign financial institutions like Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Ltd, as well as Swiss-based Coutts & Co Ltd and JP Morgan (Switzerland) Ltd were also named, along with PetroSaudi International Ltd and its founder Tarek Obaid.
All in all, 1MDB and SRC are seeking a total in excess of US$23 billion (about RM94.43 billion) and another RM300 million against those alleged domestic recipients of siphoned funds from SRC and 1MDB.
A source familiar with the suits told The Edge that the suits were filed after achieving settlement with Goldman Sachs, AmBank and Deloitte to show that the government is serious about pursuing the recovery of the money siphoned from 1MDB.
Deloitte in March settled for US$80 million (about RM324 million) with Putrajaya.
Meanwhile, Malaysia received US$2.5 billion from Goldman Sachs in August last year, and a promise that the US-based financial institution would help recover another US$1.4 billion guaranteed return of 1MDB assets seized by various authorities around the world in exchange of Malaysia dropping its charges against the bank.
AmBank in February agreed to pay RM2.83 billion with regard to its role in 1MDB’s RM5 billion bond issue in 2009.
… “These latest civil cases will show we are serious … these wrongdoers will not get off so easily.”
Once again the personal lawyer to the ’emergency’ prime minister has been put in charge of squeezing yet more settlement money out of whomsoever they reckon they can.
It is to be recollected, should anyone have forgotten, that the present administration relies on the votes of the very parties who denied wrongdoing over 1MDB right up the day they were thrown out of office by the electorate and that it seized power only by a combination of betraying the electors and buying over MPs.
Having lost even that shoddy majority this government has continued in office only thanks to a bogus declaration of emergency which is being contested by the parties who won that election and who actually campaigned against the corruption over 1MDB.
Meanwhile, this PN government has declared its settlement with Goldman Sachs to be an official secret and has failed to disclose adequate details of any of the other settlements amidst widespread suspicion and concern by the other parties who are demanding due transparency, scrutiny and oversight of the negotiations handled by a lawyer who simultaneously has been representing the prime minister over his personal libel action and other private matters.
This is a government that has been haemorrhaging public money at a time of massive Covid 19 borrowing on non-transparent initiatives of dubious urgency (see the vast sums spent on 5G) and raiding trust funds whilst promoting endless ministers to non-jobs to buy their loyalty.
Having let Goldman Sachs off the hook along with a number of local criminal cronies such as Musa Aman and Riza Aziz, the PM’s lawyer and his team have gloried in hammering easy money out of vulnerable local based institutions such as AmBank and Deloitte Malaysia, so the hunt is on for ‘low hanging fruit’ elsewhere who might surrender up cash to make 1MDB go away.
They may find the foreign institutions less pliable however. Not least because of the principle that money from a kleptocratic theft should not return to a government comprising many of those same thieves, including Najib himself nor indeed a government without a legal majority to rule.
The lawyers’ own statement sums up the scurrilous intent in admitting that the crooks from PetroSaudi have indeed been in KL in recent weeks, as suspected, in order to bargain a parcelling out of the 1MDB related spoils that they are seeking to get their hands on from Venezuela (loot that a present DOJ action is aiming to prevent falling into their hands).
PN’s lawyers have now made clear they were happy to cut such a deal that would have left the criminally charged Tarek Obaid with a chunk of Malaysia’s stolen money… however the cut being offered by the Saudi playboy was not sufficient. So they are deciding to sue instead.
Of even more concern to the Malaysian public should be the utter failure of this bunch of ‘legal eagles’ led by the PM’s personal friend to so far obtain a bent cent out of the biggest player in this 1MDB fiasco, namely Abu Dhabi.
A legal suit in London where Abu Dhabi was starting to flounder had put the pressure on the Kingdom to do the right thing by Malaysia, whom its royal backed IPIC/Aabar wealth funds had defrauded together with Najib, not once but twice. However, one of the first things the PN government did following the backdoor coup supported by the new Agong in KL was to suspend that law suit.
As an old friend of the Crown Prince Malaysia’s new Agong apparently was of the view he could reach a friendly settlement. But now, a year later, as all these new cases open up (promising vast legal fees to lawyers) not a cent has been obtained of the at least $6 billion Malaysia rightly claims from Abu Dhabi, if only as a reversal of the present settlement brokered by Najib which committed Malaysia to pay that sum to Abu Dhabi in return for covering up their joint 1MDB crime in the first place.