High Court rejects Najib’s bid to set aside Mareva injunction in 1MDB suit

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to set aside the Mareva injunction obtained by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and one of its subsidiaries was rejected by the High Court today.

Judge Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad delivered his decision stating that the defence had failed to raise enough reasons to substantiate their request and that the nature of the case made it difficult to grant leave to the Mareva injunction as the amount of money involved was enormous.

“The plaintiffs have successfully demonstrated a compelling case against the first defendant (Najib). Claims of fraudulent breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duties, knowingly receipt, dishonest receipt, unjust enrichment, and misfeasance in public office are substantiated by substantial evidence.

“Furthermore, it is clarified that the group arguable case standard for a Mareva injunction is not as onerous as contended by the first defendant. The plaintiffs have unquestionably met the standards considering the evidence and legal arguments presented before this court,” Judge Atan said when delivering his decision today.

Najib’s application was to set aside the first ex-parte (one-sided) Mareva injunction imposed on him by 1MDB last year, which prevents the former prime minister from disposing of or causing to reduce the value of any of his assets with a total value of US$681 million.

A Mareva injunction is an order preventing someone from disposing of property pending the outcome or completion of a legal action.

The injunction also limits Najib from withdrawing no more than RM100,000 per month for living and legal expenses, and if more is required, he would need to get written permission from the lawyers of 1MDB and Global Diversified.

Judge Atan upheld the RM100,000 limit withdrawal today after the defence asked if they could increase it. The defence argued that Najib had no pension and had mounting legal fees to which Atan said that was not enough to grant an increment on the withdrawals.

He said that there was further need to investigate the sources of the funds as they involved intricate financial dealings. He said if the injunction was allowed it would heighten the risk of asset dispersion.

Najib is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence after the Federal Court on August 23, 2022 affirmed his guilty verdict with regard to SRC International Sdn Bhd. He had also been sentenced to a RM210 million fine.

The plaintiffs in the suit are 1MDB, 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, 1MDB Energy Limited, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited and Global Diversified, while Najib, Terrence Geh Choh Heng (former finance director of 1MDB), Jasmine Loo Ai Swan (former 1MDB counsel), Casey Tang Keng Chee (former executive director of 1MDB), Vincent Beng, Radhi Mohamad (former chief financial officer and subsequently chief operating officer) were named as defendants.

Also named as defendants were Kelvin Tan Kay Jim (former investment director) and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil (former chief executive officer of SRC International Sdn Bhd).

The US$8 billion suit is one of 22 civil suits filed to claim over US$23 billion on behalf of 1MDB and its former subsidiary SRC International, from several individuals allegedly involved in the financial scandal.

The defence was represented by Khoo Guan Huat.