KUALA LUMPUR: The assets of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will continue to be frozen pending the trial of a suit filed by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) against him, as the High Court rules that there are real risks of the assets being dissipated.
High Court judge Justice Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad, in dismissing Najib’s application to set aside a Mareva injunction, which froze Najib’s assets worth US$81mil, ruled that there were real and material risks of dissipation if the injunction were removed, as a considerable portion of the assets were in the form of cash in bank accounts and unit trusts.
The judge also ordered Najib to pay RM20,000 in costs.
The Mareva injunction was obtained by 1MDB and one of its subsidiaries, Global Diversified Investment Company Limited (formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Limited), on Feb 8 last year.
1MDB and Global Diversified are the first and fifth plaintiffs in the suit against Najib and several others.
“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.
“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 37-page grounds of judgment yesterday.
The judge also said the plaintiffs had 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,” Justice Atan Mustaffa said.
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 Investment’s lawyers.
The order also stated that Najib would be required to file a written disclosure to 1MDB and Global Diversified Investment regarding his assets worth up to US$681mil, whether in Malaysia or abroad, whether in his own name or not, and whether solely or jointly owned by other defendants.
“A critical analysis of his conduct, particularly his failure to make complete asset disclosures, demonstrates a blatant disregard for the procedural obligations of these proceedings,” he said.
The five plaintiffs in the suit are 1MDB, 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, 1MDB Energy Limited, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited, and Global Diversified Investment.
Apart from Najib, the other defendants are 1MDB’s former deputy chief financial officer and executive finance director Terence Geh Choh Heng, former general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, executive director of business development Casey Tang Keng Chee, former director of investments and chief investment officer Vincent Beng Huat Koh, former chief financial officer and subsequently chief operating officer Radhi Mohamad, former director of investments Kelvin Tan Kay Jim and former chief investment officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.