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Najib succeeds in striking out another 1MDB-related suit

 | November 23, 2017

The High Court rules Zaid Ibrahim’s suit to recover US$731 million and RM42 million that were banked into Najib Razak’s five bank accounts is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of court process.

Zaid Ibrahim (left) and his lawyer Americk Sidhu outside the KL High Court after the decision to strike out Zaid suit against Najib and three others.

Zaid Ibrahim (left) and his lawyer Americk Sidhu outside the KL High Court.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has again allowed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to strike out a suit in relation to state fund investor 1MDB.

This time, it was against former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim, who had filed a suit for breach of fiduciary duty by Najib, stepson Riza Aziz, 1MDB and government.

Two High Court judges had earlier this year also allowed the prime minister and 1MDB to strike out the suits by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Anina Saadudin and Tony Pua.

In allowing Najib’s application to annul Zaid’s suit today, High Court Judicial Commissioner Rohani Ismail ruled that the class action suit did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against Najib, Riza, 1MDB and the government.

“The suit is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of court process,” she said in her brief written judgment.

Rohani added that Zaid had not obtained the court’s permission before filing the suit.

The court also ruled that Zaid was not any shareholder or agent of 1MDB, and he was not given consent by 1MDB’s board of directors to bring the action against the investment arm.

The court also ordered Zahid to pay a total of RM16,000 in costs to Najib and the other three defendants.

In an immediate response, Zaid, who was present for the decision today, said he would not be appealing the dismissal of the suit as he does not wish to waste more time.

“I had expected the decision today. And I have to pay costs for this case.”

Zaid, who is now a DAP member, in his suit, had wanted the US$731 million deposited into Najib’s bank accounts to be returned to the government, along with RM42 million received from 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Besides this, Zaid had also filed a separate application for Ambank Islamic to disclose details of Najib’s accounts.

Najib, who was granted the status as an intervener, had also filed an application to strike out Zaid’s application to have the data of the bank accounts, citing that Zaid does not have the right to access the accounts.

Zaid withdrew his bid to get Najib’s accounts’ details and was ordered to pay RM2,000 in costs each to Najib (the intervenor) and bank.

In his application, Najib had cited Section 145 of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (Ifsa), which prohibits details regarding the transaction of accounts held in Islamic financial institutions to be revealed.

The lawsuit, filed in August 2016, seeks to recover a total of US$731 million and RM42 million banked into Najib’s accounts.

Zaid’s suit claims US$50 million was deposited into Najib’s accounts between February 2011 and November 2012 while US$681 million was deposited in March 2013.

The US$681 million is widely known as the RM2.6 billion donation, based on the exchange rate at that time.

Zaid said he was taking the action, which would benefit the second and third defendants — 1MDB and the Malaysian government — as they were not in a position to do so.

The first defendant, Najib, he claimed, would not allow the second and third defendants, whom he controls, to take any action against him.

“Najib, as trustee of 1MDB, has a duty to protect and preserve the assets of the state and not convert them for his own use,” Zaid added in the statement of claim.

He said the US$731 million comprised US$681 million deposited into Najib’s personal account in March 2013 before the general election that year, US$20 million that he allegedly received from Good Star Ltd between February and June 2011, as well as US$30 million he allegedly received from Aabar BVI between October and November 2012.

Further, Zaid wants orders directing Riza to repay 1MDB all monies he might have received from it, either directly or indirectly.

He also wants the movie producer to transfer all properties, movable or immovable, that he had acquired with money from 1MDB, and held under his name or held under his agents’ name, including businessman Low Taek Jho.

On April 29, the High Court allowed Najib’s application to strike out a suit filed by Mahathir, Khairuddin, Anina — all former Umno members — over tort of misfeasance in public office pertaining to 1MDB’s funds.

Justice Abu Bakar Jais said the suit was not sustainable as the prime minister is not a public officer in public office but a member of the administration.

Last month, Judicial Commissioner Faizah Jamaludin also struck out a suit for misfeasance in public office over the 1MDB affair filed by Pua.

Faizah said Pua lacked the legal capacity as a taxpayer to file the suit against the company whose majority shareholder was the finance ministry.

Najib has also filed two more striking-out applications tied to 1MDB but the courts have yet to hear the matters.

Najib: Zaid has no legal standing to obtain details of my bank accounts

I’m clearing PM’s name, says Zaid

Zaid in bid to recover 1MDB-linked money

Court dismisses Tony Pua’s abuse of public office suit against Najib


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