PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Report today confirmed the claim by PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim that Clare Rewcastle-Brown was paid RM1.4 million by Abdul Hadi Awang as part of their out-of-court settlement of a defamation suit filed in London.
This comes after PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan denied Anwar’s claim, saying there was no money involved in the settlement.
“There are no documents ‘proving Sarawak Report was not paid’. To the contrary, there is copious evidence showing that we were paid by agents of Hadi Awang to allow him to withdraw his claim,” the whistleblower site said.
It said it was forced to reveal this term of the settlement after PAS leaders responded to media reports by denying that such a payment had taken place.
“In the process, they broke the terms of an agreement they themselves imposed not to discuss the terms of the settlement. Therefore Sarawak Report is entitled to reveal the truth to the Malaysian public and hopes this will draw a line under the affair,” it added.
The website also published a picture of a Bank Islam cheque drawn for Rewcastle-Brown’s lawyer Americk Sidhu, amounting to RM1,422,980.
The amount is to cover the legal fees by Rewcastle-Brown to contest Hadi’s suit.
On how Anwar came to know of the transaction, Sarawak Report said it was based on a letter from Rewcastle-Brown to Malayan Banking Bhd, confirming that she had instructed her lawyers to transfer the RM1.4 million to her Barclays Bank account in London, with the amount converted to £260,000.
Anwar earlier said he had proof that Hadi had had to pay the British journalist to end his defamation suit.
“I just want to ask if PAS made any payment to Clare. More than a million? But I cannot verify,” he said in Penang on Tuesday.
Hadi filed the suit against Rewcastle-Brown in a London High Court over her article in Sarawak Report in August 2017 suggesting that senior PAS leaders could have received RM90 million from then-prime minister and Umno president Najib Razak.
In January, both parties agreed to an out-of-court settlement.
Following this, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) sprung into action to investigate the claim that PAS leaders had received money linked to scandal-plagued 1MDB. Last week, MACC said it had yet to find any evidence of such transactions into PAS accounts.