Ralph Marshall’s lawyer says no merit to previous criminal allegations

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Allegations in India and Indonesia against newly-appointed Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) chief executive officer Ralph Marshall have no merit, according to his lawyer Judith Seddon, and this has been borne out by Interpol’s rejections of Red Notices from those two countries.

Seddon’s assertion was made in a letter dated February 5 that was sighted by Malay Mail, before Marshall was announced as the new chief at DNB by the government to take charge of the rollout of Malaysia’s 5G network.

Seddon, who practices at UK law firm Ropes and Gray, is global co-head of its white-collar and government enforcement practice.

“I do not consider either the Indian or the Indonesian criminal allegations to have any merit. That view is supported by the rejection of the allegations by the Special Court in India, and the cessation of the criminal investigations in Indonesia.

“Significantly, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s files, after careful scrutiny of each case, has rejected applications for Red Notices on both occasions,” she said in the letter.

An Interpol Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

India had sought a Red Notice against Marshall following a business dispute there in which the former head of Maxis and Astro and his then boss tycoon Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan were named in criminal allegations.

Malay Mail understands an Interpol commission that reviewed India’s request in 2017 rejected it on the basis that it was not compliant with the organisation’s rules, after finding that it was political in character and was a private dispute.

The Indian proceedings centre upon the acquisition by Maxis of India’s Aircel from Siva Ventures Limited, a company owned by C Sivasankaran in 2006.

In November 2009, Sivasankaran brought arbitration proceedings against Maxis in Singapore claiming that Maxis had breached contractual obligations. In 2011, he lost the arbitration case.

“It is apparent that the claims of corruption and coercion that were made against Maxis and its representatives derive from a private dispute between Sivasankaran and Maxis specific allegations of criminality were only made after it was apparent that that the claim would fail,” said Seddon.

In her letter, Seddon said criminal allegations in Indonesia were first made against Marshall over 12 years ago.

Marshall was, at that time, deputy chairman and group chief executive officer of Astro.

Seddon pointed out that the criminal allegations were terminated by the Indonesian police on numerous occasions, most recently in August 2016.

She said civil proceedings brought in relation to the same facts were also finally dismissed by the Supreme Court of Indonesia on 3 June 2020.

“Interpol rejected the application (by Indonesia for a Red Notice) in May 2014, and deleted the information from Interpol’s files,” she said.

Allegations about these cases have surfaced amid the backdrop of Marshall’s appointment as DNB’s CEO.

His appointment and the formation of DNB to oversee the country’s 5G rollout has raised eyebrows in the industry, with Marshall’s past corporate history put back in the spotlight by critics of the government’s decision not to auction off the spectrum to telecommunications providers.

DNB will act as a wholesale neutral party and the government has pointed out that telcos will not need to invest heavily in 5G networks. – MMO

Earlier report: Mar 8, Pejuang wants Putrajaya to explain 5G boss’ cases in India, Indonesia