PETALING JAYA: Mohamed Azmin Ali has linked the owners of a travel agency suing him over unpaid travel bills to a conspiracy against him involving a gay-sex video controversy earlier this year.
A counter-claim to the suit said the owners of the travel agency are the parents of Muhammad Haziq Hassan Mohd Ayub, who was arrested by police and implicated in the distribution of the sex video.
It said Haziq’s parents are “very close” to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and suggested that the suit was filed in order to damage Azmin politically.
The sex video controversy in June involved a former PKR Youth divisional leader Haziq Aziz who said he was the person seen in several video clips showing two men performing homosexual acts. He named Azmin as the second person, a claim vehemently denied by Azmin, who is economic affairs minister and deputy president of PKR.
Azmin’s counter-claim against the travel agency, sighted by FMT, alleged that the sex-video conspiracy was “orchestrated by the leader of a political party”, making note of a police statement regarding the video.
Azmin suggested that the contents of the travel agency’s suit were leaked to the Sarawak Report website as part of the conspiracy.
The counter-claim alleged that the travel agency’s “intention of filing (the suit over the unpaid bills) and leaking it to the Sarawak Report without giving the true background was to damage the defendant (Azmin) politically to the advantage of the above said political leader”.
The counter-claim was filed on Friday by the legal firm Daim & Gamany.
It states that Haziq Hassan’s mother, Yasmin Hanim Arbee, owns a majority of the shares in YHA Travel & Tours while his father, Mohd Ayub Hassan, is the agency’s chairman.
The suit by YHA Travel & Tours, filed last month, is over RM328,901 in unpaid travel bills, which included private trips by Azmin’s family and his trip to Sandakan during a by-election, which was later to figure in the sex-video controversy.
Details of the suit were first revealed by Sarawak Report.
Azmin’s counter claim states that Yasmin and Mohd Ayub “enjoy a very close relationship” with Anwar, and alleges that YHA Travel & Tours had leaked the statement of claim, arguing that Sarawak Report “could not have been privy” to the writ without assistance from the travel agency.
It said there was an ulterior purpose in bringing the matter to court, and Azmin sought general, exemplary and aggravated damages for damage to his character.
Azmin denied owing the travel agency RM328,901 but accepted liability for RM162,272 comprising RM41,752 in bills on his account and more than RM60,000 each for his two underage sons.
He denied liability for the accounts of his adult son and three adult daughters, and also denied liability for the travel account of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. He denied any knowledge of an account in the name of Wan Putera Shahjuan Dato W Salihudin and denied liability for the sum of RM2,570 claimed by the agency.
The counter-claim said the suit brought by YHA Travel & Tours was a “breach of understanding” between Azmin and the agency. It said they had a 20-year-long relationship in which he was given “considerable latitude in settling any outstanding sum” owed to them.