MACC sues 2 law firms for disclosure over 1MDB’s US$6.5b bond settlement

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The anti-corruption agency has filed separate motions against Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership and Chetan Jethwani & Co for the production of documents relating to the deal.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has filed lawsuits in the High Court to compel lawyers Rosli Dahlan and Chetan Jethwani and their legal firms to hand over several documents in an investigation into a settlement entered between Goldman Sachs and the government on the 1MDB US$6.5 billion bond issue.

The anti-corruption agency filed two separate motions against the lawyers and their firms, accompanied by certificates of urgency, last week.

MACC said both lawyers refused to allow its officers to conduct a search and seizure of the documents under section 31(1) of the MAAC Act when visits were made on Oct 6.

In court filings sighted by FMT, it said the lawyers had taken the stand that the documents were privileged communication between client and solicitor.

They also claimed that MACC must obtain an order from the High Court under Section 46(2) of the MACC Act, read together with Section 126(1) of the Evidence Act, to compel disclosure.

However, MACC denies the applicability of the provisions in the circumstances of the case.

The cause papers were served on the lawyers and the law firms, Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership, and Chetan & Co, last Friday.

MACC’s application against Chetan’s firm has been fixed for mention before Justice Jamil Hussin this morning.

The application against Rosli’s firm will be before Justice K Muniandy tomorrow.

In separate affidavits affirmed to support each application, MACC officer Sabri Latif said the agency’s investigations are linked to a settlement entered between the government and Goldman Sachs on the 1MDB issue.

He said Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership was appointed legal adviser to 1MDB and was involved in negotiations which led to the purported settlement agreement inked with Goldman Sachs on Aug 18, 2020.

He also said Chetan & Co were the solicitors for Goldman Sachs.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that the New York-based investment bank was suing the government in a UK arbitration court following “festering disagreement” over a settlement entered when former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was in power to resolve 1MDB’s US$6.5 billion bond saga.

On Friday, Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah issued a statement saying MACC and the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) are not empowered by law to go on a “fishing expedition” when raiding law firms.

She said neither section 31(1) of the MACC Act nor section 80 of the Income Tax Act grants either agency power to access “privileged materials and information”. – FMT