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Economics, Politics

Malaysia’s appeal at London Court over 1MDB issue succeeds

Malaysia is struggling to return money that was embezzeled.

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Updated: November 27, 2019

The Malaysian government has succeeded in its appeal against the London Court’s decision to delay its legal challenge to nullify a consent award involving 1MDB, the Minister of Finance Incorporated (Mofi) and two Abu Dhabi-based companies as part of its efforts to recover US$3.5bil (RM14.68bil).

Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas (pic) said that the Court of Appeal in London overturned a decision of the High Court of England, which had stopped a court application by 1MDB and Mofi to set aside a consent award entered by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration with the Abu Dhabi entities – International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) and Aabar Investments PJS.

“As a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision, 1MDB and Mofi’s application to set aside the consent award will now proceed to a hearing at the London High Court.

“The Court of Appeal also ordered that the parallel arbitration proceedings commenced by Ipic and Aabar be restrained,” he said in a statement Tuesday (Nov 26).

Both 1MDB and Mofi had filed an application in the Commercial Court in London in October last year to challenge a consent award that the two Malaysian parties had recorded under Najib’s administration in May 2017 with Ipic and Aabar.

It was reported that the London Commercial Court rejected Ipic and Aabar’s attempt to strike out the application made by 1MDB and Mofi to challenge the consent award.

The High Court of London also rejected the application by Ipic and Aabar to stay 1MDB and Mofi’s application, pending the determination of parallel arbitration proceeding.

Thomas said the October 2018 challenge was filed on grounds that the settlement deeds and the consent award were engineered by Najib as part of a conspiracy to defraud, and that Ipic and Aabar knew that Najib was acting contrary to the interests of Mofi and 1MDB.

He also noted that if Malaysia succeeds in the UK action, Malaysia will be able to “proceed to seek the recovery of US$3.5bil (RM14.7bil) that was paid by 1DMB subsidiaries to Ipic subsidiaries,” or in the alternative, reduce Malaysia’s liability to pay interest and principal under the 2012 bonds that were jointly guaranteed by Ipic up to US$3.5bil.

Following the successful appeal, Thomas said that “our setting aside-application will now be heard by the High Court in London as part of an open and transparent process, enabling Malaysians and the rest of the world to follow the proceedings in court.”

He added that bringing the perpetrators in the 1MDB case to justice is a complex and challenging task as the transactions have been carried out over several jurisdictions and involve many persons and entities.

“Billions of dollars of taxpayer monies have been misappropriated in the course of the 1MDB scandal in what has been described as the greatest kleptocracy in modern history.

“The Malaysian government is committed, in the public interest, to set this right and will unrelentingly pursue those who are responsible for this grievous injustice,” he added.

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The Star
About the Author: The Star is an English-language newspaper based in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

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