Jho Low files defence in 1MDB civil action, says he was never in a position of influence

PETALING JAYA: Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (pic) maintains that he does not hold any official positions in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) or its four subsidiaries.

He reportedly said this in a statement of defence filed by his lawyers at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday (Jan 26) against a civil action suit by 1MDB and its subsidiaries.

In May last year, 1MDB and subsidiaries 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, 1MDB Energy Limited, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited and Global Diversified Investment Company Limited formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Limited, filed a US$3.7837bil (RM15.75bil) suit against Low, his parents Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng and Puan Sri Goh Gaik Ewe, his sister May Lin, his younger brother Taek Szen and his associate Eric Tan Kim Loong.

Low claimed that the lawsuit should be dismissed as it failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action over the allegation of breach of trust or fiduciary duty.

He argued that he was never a director or shareholder in 1MDB, its four subsidiaries, or even a member of its board of advisers or part of the management team of any of the plaintiffs.

"As such, the first defendant (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," he said.

According to news portal Malaysiakini, Low said 1MDB’s lawsuit against him was redundant as the present civil action suit was based on the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filings regarding certain allegations.

However, he said, the DoJ civil suit against him had been mutually settled without any finding of "guilt, fault, liability and/or any form of wrongdoing".

Low said 1MDB had ignored the resolution of the DoJ civil action.

He also argued that the resolution of the DoJ action led to the voluntary forfeiture and repatriation of assets for the ultimate benefit of the Malaysian government, which is also to the benefit of the plaintiffs.

"The plaintiffs in the suit herein are ultimately owned by the government of Malaysia through the 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," Low added.

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