Najib fails to lift Mareva injunction in 1MDB’s suit

High Court rules that the injunction against Najib Razak or his agents, freezing his assets in relation to 1MDB’s claim of US$681 million, be retained until the disposal of the suit.

(FMT) – The High Court here has denied Najib Razak’s bid to lift a Mareva injunction restraining him from dissipating his assets to a value below US$681 million.

Justice Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad ruled that the injunction should be retained until the end of 1MDB’s suit.

1MDB had obtained the injunction against Najib or his agents last year, freezing his assets in relation to its claim of US$681 million against the former prime minister and finance minister, before the determination of the civil suit.

The court order, however, allowed Najib to withdraw RM100,000 every month for daily expenses and legal fees.

“The plaintiffs (1MDB and its subsidiary companies) have successfully demonstrated a compelling case against the defendant (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,” Atan said when delivering his ruling this morning.

The judge also found that 1MDB had established that there was a likelihood the assets would be dissipated if the Mareva injunction was lifted.

He said Najib had previously given “inconsistent” accounts about a sum of RM114 million seized by authorities at Pavilion Residences after the 2018 general election.

Najib had alleged that the RM114 million was held in trust for Umno.

“If the funds were genuinely held in trust for Umno, the defendant, who was no longer the (party) president, should have taken steps to transfer the funds to the party.

“Instead, evidence shows that the money was received by his representative, indicating personal custody rather than fiduciary responsibility,” Atan said.

He said Najib failed to make full disclosure of his assets, as required under the terms of the injunction.

“A critical analysis of his conduct, particularly on his failure to make complete asset disclosures, demonstrates a blatant disregard for the procedural obligations of these proceedings,” he added.

The government, through 1MDB and its subsidiary companies, filed a lawsuit against Najib and 14 others in May 2021.

They claimed that Najib and the others committed fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of duties, breach of statutory duties and unjust enrichment.

Initially, 15 individuals, including Najib, were named as defendants.

However, proceedings were discontinued against seven of them – former 1MDB CEOs Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, former directors Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Ismee Ismail, Ong Gim Huat and Ashvin Jethanand Valiram, and former chief financial officer Azmi Tahir.

Apart from Najib, the remaining defendants against whom the proceedings are ongoing are Loo Ai Swan (also known as Jasmine Loo), Tang Keng Chee, Geh Choh Heng, Vincent Koh Beng Huat, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, Kelvin Tan and Radhi Mohamad.