Malaysia’s Move to Recover 1MDB Money Hits Snag in the UK

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Difficulty to impose KL court order against PetroSaudi preventing movement of 1MDB money in the UK.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court was told today that there was difficulty in registering the court’s interim order to restrain any dealings of monies amounting to US$340.2 million (RM1.42 billion) belonging to PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) and its subsidiary in the United Kingdom court.

Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan informed judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that the prosecution had received information on the matter through an email from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) on August 21.

“The email was regarding them (NCA) trying to register the order in the UK court. There was a predicament in how to get the order enforced in the UK,” he added.

On July 16, Nazlan allowed the government’s application for an interim order to block PSI, its director Tarek Obaid and its subsidiary, PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Limited (PSOS-VZ), from moving over the monies that is linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and kept in a client’s account at the UK’s law firm, to other entities.

The interim order is to maintain the status quo of parties until the disposal of the government’s prohibition application seeking an order to restrain any dealings of the monies belonging to PSI and PSOS-VZ, which are currently in an escrow account held by Clyde & Co Co LLP in the UK.

Following this, Izzat asked the judge to set an early date to hear the government’s prohibition application on grounds that if the matter is prolonged, the monies may dissipate and it would prejudice the prosecution.

Counsel Alex Tan, representing PSOS-VZ, argued that there would be no prejudice to the prosecution as there was no movement of the monies in the accounts.

“The interim order is in place until the final disposal of the main application (prohibition application),” he said.

Lawyer Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden represented Tarek Obaid, who is also the co-founder of PSI.

The government’s application for a prohibition order is scheduled today.

However, Tan said they needed time to reply to another issue raised by the prosecution in their affidavit.

The court then fixed September 15 to hear the application that was filed by the government on July 10.

Besides US$340.2 million, the government, in its application, is also seeking unspecified money that was deposited under an intermediate account name, Temple Fiduciary Services Limited, at Barclays Bank in the UK.

The application, filed under Section 53 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, named Tarek, PSI, PSOS-VZ, Clyde & Co and Temple Fiduciary as the first to fifth respondent.

On August 19, Justice Mohd Nazlan had allowed PSOS-VZ to access US$1.36 million (RM5.66 million) out of the US$340.2 million after allowing the company’s application to amend the interim order, which prohibited it from moving the monies to other entities.

PSOS-VZ sought to vary the terms of the interim order for part of the monies to be released to pay for business expenses and legal costs.

The US$1.36 million is to be paid to UK-based law firm Kerman & Co following the conclusion of the arbitration by the company.