In his statement of defence filed on March 28, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said it was clear that the ‘wrongdoers that were initially named were removed’. — Picture by Devan Manuel
KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seeking to defend himself against a US$8 billion (RM33.8 billion) civil lawsuit filed by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its four subsidiaries, by denying all allegations made against him in the case.
Najib also claimed that the civil suit – initially filed against him and 14 others – is an “abuse of process”. 1MDB has since removed the names of seven of the 15 individuals from the initialist list.
In his statement of defence filed on March 28, Najib said it was clear that the “wrongdoers that were initially named were removed”.
“This casts suspicion and disingenuous on part of the plaintiffs in the filing of this suit, thus amounts to abuse of process,” Najib said.
Najib is currently also on trial over the alleged misappropriation of more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds, and is facing four charges of power abuse and 21 charges of money laundering in that criminal case.
Najib also said his March 28 statement of defence was filed without prejudice to his “right to remain silent” in the ongoing 1MDB criminal trial against him.
He denied all the allegations made by 1MDB in its lawsuit against him, including contents under the heading “Najib Razak – Shadow Director” in 1MDB’s statement of claim in its lawsuit.
Najib said he was only admitting to details about his residential address and his previous positions as prime minister, finance minister, chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisers, and the terms of Article 117 of 1MDB’s Articles of Association or company constitution, as stated in 1MDB’s lawsuit, but was denying all other allegations made.
He also reserved his right to give a full response to the allegations that he was denying in this 1MDB lawsuit, after the end of his 1MDB criminal trial.
In May 2021, 1MDB and its four subsidiaries (1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, 1MDB Energy Limited, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited, Global Diversified Investment Company Limited formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Limited) had filed the lawsuit against Najib and the 14 other 1MDB-linked individuals at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.
Last August, financial news outlet The Edge reported that an amended writ or court paper filed on July 12, 2021 showed that seven former 1MDB directors and former 1MDB management personnel had been dropped from the lawsuit.
The seven names removed from the lawsuit are former 1MDB directors Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Tan Sri Ong Gim Huat and Ashvin Jethanand Valiram; former 1MDB CEOs Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman; and former 1MDB chief financial officer (CFO) Azmi Tahir.
Those still named as defendants in the 1MDB civil suit are: Najib, former 1MDB CFO Radhi Mohamad, 1MDB former deputy CFO Terence Geh Choh Heng, 1MDB former general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, former 1MDB executive director of business development Casey Tang Keng Chee, 1MDB former chief investment officer Vincent Beng Huat Koh, 1MDB former investment director Kelvin Tan Kay Jin and 1MDB former chief investment officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.
Najib’s 1MDB criminal trial is set to resume next Monday.
The 1MDB lawsuit against Najib and the remaining seven others is scheduled for case management on May 12 before the High Court’s judicial commissioner Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad.