High Court dismisses Najib's attempt to put aside Mareva injunction

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has dismissed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bid to set aside the Mareva injunction on the assets worth US$681mil (RM3.2bil) linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and one of its subsidiaries.

High Court judge Justice Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad said that if the injunction was lifted, there would be a risk of the assets being dissipated before the 1MDB main trial could conclude.

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A Mareva injunction is an order stopping a party from disposing of any property while waiting for the resolution of legal action.

“In respect of whether there is a real and material risk of asset dissipation by the first defendant, the court finds that the evidence presented, along with prior judicial rulings and the first defendant's intricate financial dealings, strongly supports such a conclusion.

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“This substantiates the court's decision to exercise its jurisdiction in granting a Mareva injunction.

“Moreover, the serious allegations of dishonesty levelled against the first defendant were neither nebulous nor minor and they meet the rigorous standards in relevant case law,” he said when reading out the grounds of judgment on Wednesday (Sept 27).

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The judge also said that the plaintiffs have successfully demonstrated a compelling case against Najib.

“The claims of breach of fiduciary duties, fraudulent breach of trust, knowing receipt, dishonest receipt, unjust enrichment and misfeasance in public office are substantiated by substantial evidence,” judge Atan Mustaffa said in his ruling.

The injunction, however, allows Najib to withdraw up to RM100,000 a month for living expenses and legal fees.

If he needs excess funds, Najib is required to obtain written permission from 1MDB and Global Diversified counsels.

The order also stated that Najib would need to file a written disclosure to 1MDB and Global Diversified regarding his assets of up to USD681mil, whether in Malaysia or abroad, in his own name or not and solely or jointly owned by other defendants.

“As to the nature of the first defendant's disclosed assets, the court observes that a considerable portion is liquid, inherently amplifying the risk of asset dissipation.

“Coupled with the first defendant's incomplete asset disclosures, this establishes a real and present risk of dissipating assets, thereby justifying the enforcement of the Mareva orders to preserve the integrity of these proceedings,” the judge added.

On Feb 8 last year, the court allowed the ex-parte application for a mareva injunction by 1MDB and Global Diversified Investment Company Limited (formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Limited), both as first and second plaintiffs, in the 1MDB lawsuit against Najib and several other individuals.

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