(Updated)

1MDB suit: Atan Mustaffa to hear US$8b case against Najib, 14 others

1MDB suit: Atan Mustaffa to hear US$8b case against Najib, 14 others
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KUALA LUMPUR (June 9): High Court Judicial Commissioner Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad will hear 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) US$7.795 billion (about RM32.12 billion) lawsuit against ex-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and 14 others after Judicial Commissioner Adlin Abdul Majid recused herself from hearing the case.

The case forms a part of the Malaysian government's legal action for the recovery of assets, with a combined total in excess of RM96.6 billion (US$23 billion), including approximately RM300 million against various local parties.

Atan Mustaffa's appointment has been confirmed in Malaysia's judiciary online system, checks by theedgemarkets.com indicated.

According to the Federal Court of Malaysia Chief Registrar's Office's website, Atan Mustaffa, who is a Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Kuala Lumpur, was appointed a judicial commissioner on Nov 28, 2019.

According to the judiciary's online updates, he is scheduled to hear case management proceedings of the 1MDB suit for the first time on July 2, 2021.

On Friday (June 4, 2021), Adlin announced her decision to recuse herself from hearing the 1MDB case during case management in the High Court here because Adlin and two lawyers representing 1MDB were formerly law firm partners of Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill.

Adlin's decision followed an application by the plaintiff to recuse the judicial commissioner and lawyers Datuk DP Naban and Rosli Dahlan, according to lawyer Siva Kumar Kanagasabai from Skrine, which is representing 1MDB.

Naban and Rosli are now law firm partners of Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership, which also represents 1MDB.

On May 10, 2021, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said in a statement that on May 7, legal representatives of 1MDB and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd filed a combined total of 22 civil suits to recover losses suffered by both companies.

The MoF said 1MDB and SRC filed six and 16 civil suits respectively for the recovery of assets, with a combined total in excess of RM96.6 billion (US$23 billion), including approximately RM300 million against various local parties.

"The writs filed by 1MDB are against a total of nine entities (including two foreign financial institutions) and 25 individuals for various wrongdoing, including breach of contractual, statutory, common law and fiduciary duties; breach of trust; fraud; conspiracy to defraud; fraudulent misrepresentation; fraudulent breach of duties and trust; fraudulent concealment; fraudulent misappropriation; dishonest assistance in misappropriation of funds; negligence, knowing receipt and unjust enrichment.

"The writs filed by SRC are against a total of 15 individuals and eight entities for various wrongdoing, including abuse of power, breach of fiduciary duties in public office, breach of trust, conspiracy, dishonest assistance, fraudulent breach of duties, knowing receipt, misfeasance and wrongful conversion. 1MDB and SRC contend that these entities and/or individuals have been unjustly enriched by wrongfully receiving monies from 1MDB or SRC," the MoF claimed, without naming the entities and individuals.

Acccording to news reports, besides Najib, 1MDB also filed the lawsuit against 1MDB former directors Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Tan Sri Ong Gim Huat and Ashvin Valiram besides ex-1MDB chief executive officers Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and former chief financial officers Azmi Tahir and Radhi Mohamad.

Also named in the lawsuit were 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.

Chong Jin Hun