(Updated)

1MDB files multibillion-dollar suits against Deutsche Bank, Coutts, JP Morgan, Wong & Partners and others

1MDB files multibillion-dollar suits against Deutsche Bank, Coutts, JP Morgan, Wong & Partners and others
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 10): 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has filed a total of six separate suits, including against foreign banks Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Coutts & Co.

Also sued are individuals including former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar, as well as former 1MDB chief executive officers (CEOs) Datuk Shahrol Ibrahim Halmi and Arul Kanda Kandasamy, among others.

One of the six suits filed is against Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Ltd, Coutts & Co Ltd, JP Morgan (Switzerland) Ltd and two PetroSaudi companies for alleged negligence, breach of contract, conspiracy to defraud the company and dishonest assistance to defraud to the total amount of US$4.923 billion (about RM20.22 billion).

Also named in the separate suits, sighted by The Edge, are fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (aka Jho Low), his father Tan Sri Low Hock Peng, sister Low May Lin and accomplice Eric Tan Kim Loong from whom 1MDB is seeking a total of US$1.402 billion.

Besides this, 1MDB also filed a separate claim against its then legal firm Wong & Partners and partner Brian Chia Hock Gee for a sum of US$1 billion and payment of legal fees of RM664,821.21 for their alleged role in the fraud.

The sixth suit was filed against Najib's stepson and Hollywood producer Riza Aziz, where 1MDB is said to have sought US$250 million from The Wolf of Wall Street award-winning producer. 1MDB is claiming wilful blindness, reckless indifference and the need to investigate the source of Riza's funds.

All of the six suits were filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court last Friday evening.

Claim against Najib and other 1MDB officers

In the first suit filed by 1MDB, the other plaintiffs are its subsidiaries 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd, 1MDB Energy Ltd, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Ltd and Global Diversified Investment Company Ltd, formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Ltd, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Interestingly, these suits are filed in Malaysia, which seem to be a tactical move to bait these foreign parties, including Jho Low, to come and defend these actions in the Malaysian jurisdiction.

The plaintiffs named Najib, who was the chairman of 1MDB's advisory board, the company's former chairman Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, former directors Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Tan Sri Ong Gim Huat and Ashvin Valiram, Shahrol, former CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, as well as former chief financial officers (CFOs) Azmi Tahir and Radhi Mohamad.

Also named are former 1MDB officers [Terence] Geh Choh Heng, [Jasmine] Loo Ai Swan, [Casey] Tang Keng Chee, Vincent Beng Huat Koh, Kelvin Tan Kay Jin and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

The causes of action against them are for fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent breach of duties, fraudulent breach of trust, breach of statutory and contractual duties, conspiracy, negligence, knowing receipt, dishonest assistance, fraudulent misappropriation and unjust enrichment where the quantum sought is for US$7.795 billion.

Najib is presently on a criminal trial with four counts of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering worth RM2.28 billion, with Hazem presently on the witness stand.

Second suit against Irwan and Arul Kanda

In the second suit by 1MDB, it named Arul Kanda and Irwan Serigar as defendants, whereby the company is accusing them of alleged breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and dishonest assistance.

It claimed that Arul Kanda and Irwan Serigar are liable for fraudulent breach of duties and fraudulent breach of trust, resulting in the company paying a sum of US$1.83 billion to 1MDB PetroSaudi Ltd, which was converted into stakes in Brazen Sky and then converted into investment in Bridge Global Fund.

1MDB is also claiming that the duo allegedly committed fraudulent breach of duties and breach of trust towards International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) and Aabar PJS, resulting in a payment of US$1.265 billion being paid to IPIC on May 9, 2017 as part of the consent award and US$3.5 billion being misappropriated from the company to Aabar BVI.

In total, 1MDB is claiming US$6.59 billion from the duo as a result of the purported breach and an additional RM2.9 million against Irwan Serigar for fraudulent breach of duties and trust resulting in the extension employment agreement.

Foreign financial institutions

1MDB also named Deutsche Bank, Coutts & Co (Switzerland) and JP Morgan (Switzerland), along with PetroSaudi International and PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd, as well as its co-founder Tarek Obaid and director Patrick Mohany as defendants in the third suit.

1MDB cites negligence breach of contract, conspiracy to defraud and dishonest assistance, where it is seeking US$1.11 billion from Deutsche Bank, US$1.03 billion from Coutts & Co plus interests, US$800 million from JP Morgan and interests on the sum, and US$1.83 billion from the two PetroSaudi companies and Tarek plus interests and US$153 million from Mahony.

This resulted in the total quantum sought to be US$4.923 billion. Tarek and PetroSaudi are alleged to be responsible for the 1MDB PetroSaudi venture and transfers to Good Star Ltd, an entity owned by Jho Low as testified in the 1MDB trial.

Tarek, along with Mahony, are also facing criminal charges along with Jho Low for criminal conspiracy involving 1MDB and Najib. There are also at present separate forfeiture proceedings against PetroSaudi and Tarek for the country to recover US$340 million as part of the funds in the joint venture (JV) to form 1MDB PetroSaudi.

Earlier, it was reported that lawyers for Tarek and PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd had approached the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to settle the matter, but they were said to have offered only half of the amount sought by Malaysia.

Jho Low and three others

1MDB also filed claims against Jho Low, his father Hock Peng, sister May Lin and his close associate Eric Tan for fraudulent concealment, fraudulent misappropriation of funds, unjust enrichment, breach of trust and conspiracy, where a total of US$1.402 billion are sought from them.

Of that, a sum of US$1.03 billion is sought from Jho Low, followed by his associate Tan (US$41 million), Hock Peng (US$328 million) and US$3.5 million from May Lin.

Jho Low is said to be the mastermind in the whole 1MDB scandal and action has been brought against him in various jurisdictions, including in the US for forfeiture.

Lastly, the action against legal firm Wong & Partners, along with its senior partner Chia, is for purported breach of contractual, statutory, common law and fiduciary duties, as well as dishonest assistance in misappropriation of funds. 1MDB is seeking US$1 billion and legal fees of RM664,821.21.

Read also:
Finance Ministry confirms 1MDB, SRC filed civil suits for a combined US$23b, as per The Edge report
1MDB and SRC file multibillion-dollar civil suits against those alleged to be responsible for fraud
Najib, Shahrol, Ismee and Ibrahim Ali among those named in 16 suits by SRC 
Deutsche Bank 1MDB probe dropped by US Justice Department

Kathy Fong