Khairuddin’s bid to stop legal firm from representing Jho Low fixed for Dec 19

Khairuddin-Abu-Hassan-jho-low-malaysia-1KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will hear on Dec 19 an application by Khairuddin Abu Hassan to set aside a warrant which purportedly authorises a legal firm to represent Low Taek Jho in a suit demanding the return of a 22-carat pink diamond allegedly in the hands of Rosmah Mansor.

His lawyer Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar Al Mahdzar said the application would be heard before Justice Ahmad Zaidee Ibrahim.

“The judge will also hear on Jan 18 applications by Rosmah and state investor 1MDB to strike out the suit,” Syed Iskandar told reporters after a case management before deputy registrar K Pavani.

Syed Iskandar said he had informed Pavani that senior lawyer Gopal Sri Ram would appear for Khairuddin in arguing both applications.

Last month, Khairuddin, a former Umno leader, said Messrs Ng Aik Guan did not have the authority to act for the businessman, also known as Jho Low, as the warrant was suspicious.

Khairuddin said he believed that Jho Low, whose whereabouts are unknown, was no longer in Malaysia.

“The second defendant (Jho Low) has never surfaced in Malaysia or elsewhere to deny this fact,” he said.

Khairuddin said on Sept 19, the legal firm wrote to his lawyers saying Jho Low had appointed them to represent him, but that the letter did not produce proof of proper authorisation.

He said his lawyers wrote to the legal firm, which responded by sending a warrant to act for Jho Low, purportedly signed by the businessman.

However, Khairuddin said a close examination of the said warrant to act revealed it to be spurious.

He said his lawyers replied that they were disputing the firm’s authority to act for Jho Low.

Khairuddin, who has submitted 10 exhibits in support of his application to set aside the warrant, claimed Jho Low did not want to reveal the country he was domiciled in now as the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking for him.

He said he was relying on information sourced from Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.

On Aug 15, Khairuddin filed the suit seeking a court order for Rosmah to return a US$27.3 million (RM115 million) diamond set in a necklace to 1MDB.

Khairuddin said 1MDB had obtained US$6.5 billion by borrowing from overseas lenders, and that the company was the beneficial owner.

He alleged that Jho Low had committed theft or criminal breach of trust of the said loans, and had no title in law or in equity over the money.

Khairuddin said between June 2013 and March 2014, Jho Low, acting through his agent, Tan Kim Loong, purchased the jewellery from Loraine Schwartz in New York.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed two civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets worth US$1.8 billion that it claimed were bought with funds stolen from 1MDB.

The suits are the largest legal action brought under the DoJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

The first suit was filed on July 21 last year, in which the term “MO1” (Malaysian Official 1) was mentioned 36 times.

On June 15, the DoJ, in its court filings, said nearly US$30 million was allegedly stolen from the sovereign wealth fund and used to buy jewellery.

The filings lodged at the US district court in Los Angeles said the jewellery purchases were for the wife of “Malaysian Official 1”.

Lawyers Yazid Mustaqim Roslan appeared for Rosmah, Rishwant Singh for Jho Low, and Caines Tan for 1MDB.