Court Grants Order for Interested Parties to Claim Ownership of 1MDB-Linked Assets

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The court previously set Aug 30 last year for any third parties to come to court, however, nobody turned up to stake a claim on the assets sought to be forfeited in the suit.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today granted an order for any interested party to claim ownership of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-linked assets seized from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, 16 individuals and companies shortly after the 14th general election (GE14).

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the order after deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Shukri Hussain applied for a new third party notice to be issued.

Earlier, Shukri informed the court that an amended notice of motion regarding the forfeiture of the assets was filed and served on Thursday to those named in the forfeiture application.

The amendments, he said, were made to the particulars of the bank accounts pertaining to the case.

Lawyers for Najib and the 15 individuals and companies named in the forfeiture bid told the court they did not have any objection against the prosecution’s application.

“I hope the court will give us about one-and-a-half months’ time to publish the gazette for third parties (to contest ownership of the items) so they can have some time to come to court,” Shukri said.

The court set Oct 26 as mention for any interested third parties to contest the seized items.

Shukri said the court previously set Aug 30 last year for any third parties to come to court, however, nobody turned up to stake a claim on the assets sought to be forfeited in the suit.

He then explained that since the court last week had allowed the prosecution’s application to amend a few typographical errors in the cause papers, then the procedure of the third party notice needed to be done again.

“Yesterday, we (prosecution) filed the amended Notice of Motion (on the forfeiture suit) and have served (copies of the amended cause papers on the 18 respondents).

“If no third parties come to court on Oct 26, we will proceed with the full hearing,” he said.

When met after proceedings today, Najib’s counsel Nur Syahirah Hanapiah confirmed the new date.

She explained that the new third party notice date was because the forfeiture suit’s cause papers had been amended, thus the third party notice procedure needed to be carried out again.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) filed the 1MDB-linked forfeiture suit against Najib and 17 other respondents, comprising individuals and companies, on May 9 last year.

In the notice of motion, the prosecution named Najib, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz (Najib’s stepson), Nor Ashman Razak Mohd Najib (Najib’s son) , Nooryana Najwa Mohd Najib (Najib’s daughter), Mohd Kyizzad Mesran, Senijauhar Sdn Bhd, Aiman Ruslan, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara Sdn Bhd, Goh Gaik Ewe (mother of fugitive businessman Jho Low), Ng Chong Hwa (former Goldman Sachs banker), Lim Hwee Bin (Ng’s wife), Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun as the first to 18th respondent.

Among the items seized were 52 branded handbags, 10 watches and cash in different denominations – RM537,000; Pound Sterling 2,700; Rupee Sri Lanka 2,870,000; old notes RM187,750; Pound Sterling 320,500; Rupiah 13,177,000; US$100, Hryvnies (Ukraine) 376; Euro 20; France 50; South African 10 Rand; Singapore $40; Riyal 531;Philippines Peso 740; and new notes RM21,150 which were seized on May 17, 2018.

Also seized on the same day (May 17) were four branded watches, 171 branded handbags and 27 pairs of expensive shoes, while 40 luxury handbags were confiscated on June 11, 2018.

A total of 27 Nissan Urvans were also seized on Aug 2, 2018, along with several properties and other assets.