Report: More ‘fabricated texts’ alleging influence peddling by KL lawyers?

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Troubling new set of apparent exchanges, purportedly involved Frode Stromo and Lim Chee Wee.

Just as the Norwegian oil services provider Aker Solutions and its former KL legal advisors issued statements on Sunday, claiming texts which had prompted a police report by none other than Malaysia’s own Chief Justice were “false and fabricated”, yet more messages surfaced which also appear related to the same people and the same case.

In a further interchange revealed to Sarawak Report, which apparently dates back to 2018, a senior legal figure from the company purportedly asked his KL legal counsel about then newly appointed MACC Commissioner, Latheefa Koya. To which the KL lawyer apparently told his client:

“She is a bitch! Biggest bitch of MACC.”

This troubling new set of apparent exchanges, passed to Sarawak Report through senior insiders, purportedly involved Aker Solutions’ legal counsel Frode Stromo, who is believed by investigators to have been communicating with the Malaysian lawyer Lim Chee Wee, who was then working for Skrine Partners for whom Aker Solutions was an important client in Malaysia.

Stromo apparently refers in the texted phone message to the very case which saw charges issued last week against an employee of the company in Malaysia, Ahmad Hatta Kamaruzzaman, who stands accused of submitting false documentation and statements to Malaysia’s oil company Petronas in order to secure contracts.

Bernama

The previous set of published text messages (earlier revealed by Sarawak Report) were allegedly connected to a related civil action brought by its former in-house Malaysian legal counsel who claims to have been blamed and sidelined over the affair. These also refer to involvement by Stromo and Lim in allegedly influencing legal outcomes.

The newly released dialogue appears to be discussing the build-up to the present situation and is presented as a screenshot of a conversation where Frode Stromo is the other party:

As with the previous texts released earlier, the dialogue appears to reveal the Norwegian company’s senior law officer discussing influence-mongering tactics in collaboration with the same Malaysian lawyer who was accused by the Chief Justice of bringing the judiciary into disrepute by claiming he could “guarantee” Aker Solutions a victory in the civil case.

Having attacked the new MACC boss, the respondent allegedly assures the Norwegian that there is still nothing to “worry much” about in their case as another well-known senior officer had remained in place, namely the MACC number two Azam Baki.

He also brags that one Dato Umar was also “accommodative”, so he won’t let other matters “bother” him.

Aker Solutions, Lim Chee Wee and the other senior KL lawyer cited in the complaint made by the Chief Justice, Rosli Dahlan, have all now issued categorical denials that the shocking interchanges are genuine. All three have issued police reports stating the texts are “false and fabricated” and confirming that none of them collaborated in any way to improperly influence outcomes benefitting the company.

This was in response to news that the Chief Justice had issued her own police report earlier in the week (which cited company and the two lawyers) and Sarawak Report’s later details about the evidence presented in that report.

Rosli Dahlan is known to be the key lawyer working for the present prime minister, Mahiaddin Yassin and the originally published text claimed he had “cleared the path” for Aker to win its civil case “right up to the CJ [Chief Justice]”. Rosli has denied the accusation and complained in his police report on Sunday that Sarawak Report has failed to give him credit for the work he has done repatriating 1MDB stolen monies to Malaysia.

Sarawak Report has indeed questioned the sums obtained by the PN negotiations led by Rosli (who is also the PM’s personal libel lawyer and was appointed only after the accession of the new government). We have also queried the lack of transparency about the settlements and the disposal of the money which we have suggested represented quick settlements for less cash than Malaysia was entitled to expect from banks like Goldman Sachs and entities such as IPIC.

The MACC is now understood to be investigating the matter following the Chief Justice’s own report to the police. Given the allegations that even senior members of the anti-corruption agency are described as open to influence by the company and its agents, this matter is clearly serious whether the texts prove to be genuine or a nefarious hoax as claimed by these participants in the lawsuits that are being discussed. – Sarawak Report