Hearing of US$340mil 1MDB-linked suit postponed, prosecution awaits response from UK law firm

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The hearing of the government’s application to block PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) and its director, Tarek Obaid, from using over US$340mil (RM1.42bil) linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which was kept in a client’s account at a UK law firm has been postponed.

Justice Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh postponed the hearing, which had been set for Friday (Oct 8), to give time for law firm, Clyde & Co LLP in the United Kingdom, to confirm whether or not they want to respond and to file an affidavit on the documents served to them.

This came after Deputy Public Prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed told Justice Ahmad Shahir that the prosecution had served the documents on the three foreign entities named in the application, namely Petrosaudi International Limited in Saudi Arabia, as well as the two London-based companies, Clyde & Co and Temple Fiduciary Services Limited.

"We are in contact with the National Crime Agency (NCA) representative, Danial Murphy and he confirmed that the UK government had served the documents to Clyde & Co on Oct 1.

"He also conveyed the court’s message to Clyde & Co whether the firm wanted to respond, but until now we have not received anything from them,” said Budiman.

He also told the court that the legal firm had acknowledged the documents had been served to them and it was received by its representative, Sarah Wheatly.

"After speaking to parties and in the interest of justice, perhaps Clyde & Co should be allowed some time to respond to the application and the prosecution will be in communication with the NCA for an update from the legal firm,” he said.

Lawyer Alex Tan and Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, representing PSI’s South American subsidiary company, PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd (PSOS-VZ) and Tarek Obaid, respectively, did not object to the prosecution’s application.

Ahmad Shahrir then fixed Oct 22 for case management for the prosecution to update the court on Clyde & Co's respond.

On July 16 last year, the court granted the government’s application for an interim order to block the parties from moving the monies linked to 1MDB and kept in a client’s account at the United Kingdom-based law firm, to other entities.

The interim order is to maintain the status quo of the parties until the disposal of the government’s prohibition application seeking an order to restrain any dealings on the monies belonging to PSI and PSOS-VZ which are currently in an escrow account held by Clyde & Co.

Besides the US$340mil (RM1.42bil), the government, in its application is also seeking unspecified money that was deposited under an intermediate account name, Temple Fiduciary Services Limited, at Barclays Bank in the United Kingdom.

The application, filed under Section 53 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA), named Tarek, PSI, PSOS-VZ, Clyde & Co and Temple Fiduciary as the first to fifth respondents.- Bernama

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