KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia has taken active steps via judicial proceedings within the country to recover the 1MDB assets referred to in the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) legal action against a UK law firm, a lawyer said.
Amir Zharif Abdullah, whose law firm was appointed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in a forfeiture action against Saudi national Tarek Obaid, PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI), PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd (PSOSL), Clyde and Co LLP and Temple Fiduciary Services Ltd, said this in a statement to The Edge on Monday (Feb 8).
“We reiterate the statement made by us to The Edge in September last year, after the first round of reports were made in respect of the said US DoJ action.
“But it is important to highlight that Malaysia has taken active steps via judicial proceedings in Malaysia with regards to the assets stipulated under the suit,” Amir Zharif said in a brief statement to The Edge. He declined to elaborate on the matter.
Amir Zharif’s firm Messrs Zharif Nizamuddin has been helping the MACC to try to recover US$340 million from Tarek and the four others in the forfeiture action filed by the Attorney-General Chambers.
The Malaysian firm referred to Article 42, Paragraph 5 of the UN Convention Against Corruption which states that — if a state party exercising jurisdiction has been notified, or has learned that any other state parties are conducting an investigation, prosecution or judicial proceeding on the matter, the authorities of the state parties shall consult one another with a view of coordinating their actions.
The UK newspaper The Guardian reported today that a warrant of arrest has been issued by the DOJ to the UK legal firm of Clyde & Co to seize hundreds of millions of dollars, which it is holding on behalf of a client.
Malaysia had initiated the forfeiture bid against Tarek, PSI, PSOSL and two others last July, and the High Court here had directed its counterpart to freeze the funds there, pending disposal of the prosecutors application.
This is after criminal charges were levelled against Tarek last year, along with PSI director Patrick Mahony and fugitive Penang-born businessman Low Taek Jho. They were charged last Feb 11 with criminal conspiracy involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to embezzle 1MDB funds.
Tarek and Mahony have also been charged separately with laundering some US$300 million of unlawful monies linked to 1MDB on Sept 30, 2009 at Switzerland-based J.P. Morgan (Suisse) SA, after the sum was said to have been deposited into 1MDB-PetroSaudi’s bank account.
1MDB-PetroSaudi is a joint venture company between 1MDB and PSI whose funds, allegedly transferred via PSOSL, was sought by the Malaysian government in the forfeiture action.
Last week, it was reported that the Malaysian prosecutors have yet to settle the forfeiture and the matter has been fixed for further case management on April 2 before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
By : Hafiz Yatim – THE EDGE MARKETS