Another judge recuses self from hearing 1MDB-linked suit against Najib

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Another High Court Judicial Commissioner has recused herself from a 1MDB-linked lawsuit against former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Bernama

Adlin Abdul Majid today made the decision to withdraw from 1MDB’s suit against Najib and 14 other defendants linked to the troubled sovereign wealth fund.

Previously, it was reported that two other judicial commissioners have also withdrawn from similar legal actions, such as Liza Chan Sow Keng and Quay Chew Soon.

Today’s 1MDB suit is one among 22 launched by the sovereign wealth fund as well as its former subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd, against various personalities who purportedly defrauded them.

The two plaintiffs also took legal action against entities that may not have perpetrated the fraud but were involved in the process – knowingly or unknowingly.

The outcome of today’s proceedings was confirmed by one of the counsel acting for 1MDB and SRC.

The lawyer said that today was set for hearing of 1MDB’s application for Adlin to recuse herself from hearing the suit.

“Yang Arif Adlin Abdul Majid recused herself from hearing and deciding all further proceedings relating to this claim.

“The court will inform us who is the new judge that will be hearing and deciding on this claim,” said the counsel, who declined to be named.

According to a copy of the recusal application sighted by Malaysiakini, 1MDB sought for Adlin to withdraw from the matter because she used to be a partner in the law firm Messrs Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill.

The application contended that she was the law firm’s partner alongside lawyers DP Naban and Rosli Dahlan prior to Feb 14 last year, and that the law firm had previously received instruction to act for 1MDB in certain related proceedings, among other cited reasons.

Naban and Rosli are among the lawyers acting for the plaintiffs in the 22 suits. Both lawyers are now partners of Messrs Rosli Saravana Partnership (RDS).

Adlin has since switched from being a lawyer to a High Court judicial commissioner.

Meanwhile in relation to SRC’s US$1.15 billion suit against Najib and six of the company’s former office-bearers, the same lawyer (who wished to remain anonymous) revealed that Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin will now preside over the suit.

The SRC suit was the one from which Liza had recused herself from hearing. The legal action is also part of the 22 lawsuits.

The 22 suits were filed earlier this month by three law firms, namely RDS, Skrine & Co, and Lim Chee Wee Partnership.

The suits seek around US$23 billion (RM94.4 billion) from the defendants.

Among those named as defendants include Najib, former 1MDB chairperson Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, and former 1MDB chief executive officers Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, and Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Several family members of Jho Low were also named, including his father and sister May Lin. His associates Eric Tan Kim Loong and Tarek Obaid, who is also the PetroSaudi International Ltd founder, were also named.

Some of the entities named were Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Ltd as well as Swiss-based Coutts & Co Ltd and JP Morgan (Switzerland) Ltd.

The report, quoting a source familiar with the suits, said the criminal cases in the 1MDB scandal were proceeding too slowly and the civil suits will demonstrate Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s seriousness on the issue.

On July 27 last year, Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and an RM210 million fine for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering involving RM42 million from SRC.

He is appealing the case and the matter is now at the Court of Appeal. His 1MDB-related charges are still at the High Court.

Previously, Bernama reported the Finance Ministry confirmed that 1MDB and SRC filed a total of 22 civil suits to recover assets worth over RM96.6 billion, including about RM300 million against various local parties.

In a statement, the ministry said the writs filed on May 7 comprised six by 1MDB and 16 by SRC.

The writs filed by 1MDB are against nine entities, including two foreign financial institutions, and 25 individuals, while those filed by SRC are against eight entities and 15 individuals for various wrongdoings.

The wrongdoings include breach of contractual, statutory, common law and fiduciary duties; breach of trust; fraud; conspiracy to defraud; fraudulent misrepresentation; fraudulent breach of duties and trust; abuse of power; breach of fiduciary duties in public office; and dishonest assistance in misappropriation of funds.

“1MDB and SRC contend that these entities and/or individuals have been unjustly enriched by wrongfully receiving monies from 1MDB or SRC,” the ministry said.

According to Bernama, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the government would not rest until all those involved are made fully accountable for the wrongdoings caused to the country through their involvement in 1MDB and/or SRC.

“Following significant and successful settlements with Goldman Sachs, AmBank Group and Deloitte PLT, the government’s recovery efforts are now focused on pursuing other wrongdoers who have caused losses to 1MDB and/or SRC during the execution of their duties, as parties directly or indirectly involved in 1MDB and/or SRC’s various operations and transactions,” he added.

The government had earlier received RM10.5 billion from Goldman Sachs in August 2020 with a further asset recovery guarantee of RM5.88 billion.

The government has also recently received RM336 million from Deloitte PLT and is later set to receive RM2.83 billion from the AmBank Group. – Malaysiakini