I have no legal standing to control 1MDB, subsidiaries: Jho Low

·4-min read
I have no legal standing to control 1MDB, subsidiaries: Jho Low
I have no legal standing to control 1MDB, subsidiaries: Jho Low

Businessperson Low Taek Jho contended he has no legal standing to control 1MDB and its four subsidiaries.

The wanted individual, also known as Jho Low, made this assertion in his statement of defence that he held no official positions in the sovereign wealth fund nor its four subsidiaries.

The court document is a response against a civil action by 1MDB and the four subsidiaries over alleged manipulation by third parties that led to the misappropriation of billions of ringgit.

His lawyers from law firm Valen, Oh & Partners, filed the statement of defence at the Kuala Lumpur High Court two days ago (Jan 26).

Jho Low was among many individuals and entities who were targeted by 22 civil actions by 1MDB and its former subsidiary SRC International was launched last year

The various civil suits targeted those who purportedly defrauded the two government-owned entities, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

One of these lawsuits, namely by 1MDB and its four subsidiaries, targeted Jho Low and five other defendants - his father and mother Low Hock Peng and Goh Gaik Ewe, his (Jho Low) sister May Lin, his younger brother Taek Szen, and his alleged associate Eric Tan Kim Loong.

Lawsuit should be dismissed

The four other subsidiaries are 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd, 1MDB Energy Ltd, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Ltd and Global Diversified Investment Company Ltd, formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Ltd.

On Jan 5, Bernama reported that Jho Low and his parents entered appearance in the suit, through their lawyers from law firm Valen, Oh & Partners.

According to the statement of defence sighted by Malaysiakini, Jho Low claimed that the lawsuit ought to be dismissed as it failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action over allegation of breach of trust or fiduciary duty.

The business person contended that he has never been a director or shareholder in 1MDB or its four subsidiaries, nor was he a member of the sovereign wealth fund’s board of advisors or a part of the management team of any of the plaintiffs.

“As such, the first defendant (Jho Low) has no legal standing to exercise control over the plaintiffs, including but not limited to directing or otherwise causing the alleged transfer and/or receipt of funds,” Jho Low contended.

No knowledge

In the separate criminal court cases against Najib Abdul Razak over 1MDB and SRC, the former premier’s defence team contended that the accused had no knowledge of any wrongdoing and that any wrongdoings were masterminded by Jho Low and several other individuals.

Meanwhile through the statement of defence, Jho Low contended that 1MDB’s lawsuit against him is redundant as the United States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) had already achieved a “global, comprehensive resolution” with him over the DoJ’s 1MDB-linked civil action against him, without any finding of “guilt, fault, liability and/or any form of wrongdoing”.

The businessperson claimed that 1MDB’s present civil action against him was based on the DoJ filings regarding certain allegations, and claimed that the sovereign wealth fund at the same time ignored the resolution of the DoJ civil action against him.

Jho Low contended that the resolution of the Doj civil action led to the voluntary forfeiture and repatriation of assets for the ultimate benefit of the Malaysian government, which ultimately is also to the benefit of the plaintiffs.

1MDB is wholly owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc), in effect making it owned by the government of Malaysia.

Plaintiff's claim amount

“The plaintiffs in the suit herein are ultimately owned by the government of Malaysia through Minister of Finance (Incorporated), and in effect, the government of Malaysia is the prime mover of the present suit against the defendants named herein. As such, the plaintiffs’ claims are redundant.

“In further consideration of the foregoing, the plaintiffs’ claims amount to an impermissible double counting of such repatriated assets, and therefore should not be considered as forfeitable sums,” Jho Low claimed.

Between 2019 and last year, it was reported that the US DoJ has returned billions of ringgit in 1MDB assets to Malaysia.

Checks on the online cause list showed that 1MDB’s suit against Jho Low and the other five defendants are fixed for online case management before the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Feb 9.

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