Sarawak Report expressed scepticism last month when PN lawyers strutted across global news channels announcing an ambitious series of civil suits on behalf of 1MDB to the tune of some RM25 billion they allegedly plan to recoup mainly out of banks and professionals that 1MDB had itself duped into facilitating its financial scandal of the century.
Leading the troupe was Rosli Dahlan, Mahiaddin’s personal lawyer and various close associates, such as the former MACC board member Lim Chee Wee.
Sarawak Report pointed out at the time that for a criminal enterprise (namely 1MDB) to initiate proceedings against the very entities it had deceived and lied to made for a shaky case indeed – certainly in any foreign court. After all, the MOF subsidiary is laughably also suing several former staff members in a plain acknowledgement of the role its most senior figures played in the entanglement of their big name targets, who included 1MDB’s own lawyers Wong&Partners (part of Baker & McKenzie), Deutsche bank, JP Morgan and Coutts.
Yesterday, just a month later, the first of these much touted prosecutions duly collapsed in tatters, as Lim Chee Wee simply withdrew the US$1 billion case he had lodged against Wong & Partners and acknowledged to the court that 1MDB will have no right to file afresh.
Sarawak Report has been informed that 1MDB’s legal team had never even served the writ it had raised against the law firm (part of the world’s largest legal conglomerate) even though they have not hesitated to blow their trumpet all about it.
So, it appears Sarawak Report was indeed right to suggest from the start that this series of legal actions that has gained so much attention was merely a disgraceful half-baked gamble on the part of the PN government and its hired lawyers, in order to distract perhaps from other failings.
Senior lawyers in KL certainly suspect it will precede the likely collapse of the other prosecutions also. According to one legal observer the move was probably encouraged by the large fine AmBank’s board had earlier agreed to pay 1MDB after earlier actions by the same legal teams working for PN and the Ministry of Finance:
“From the start it was a case of bulls**t litigation and brinkmanship based on bravado after the swift collapse of AmBank. Shareholders angry at the willingness of the bank to cave to the government backed litigation will feel even more vindicated now.
This was an abuse of process that has damaged Wong & Partners – they certainly themselves now have a very good defamation case, should they wish to pursue this matter.”
Even so, there is amazement the 1MDB case collapsed quite so quickly, rather than at the ‘door of the court’ which had been expected as more likely. Is this merely a sign of just how poorly prepared the entire case was as the major banks and law firm went public with their firm decision to fight the action all the way?
For the hired lawyers there was an incentive in the form of fees, but perhaps the Ministry of Finance wanted fair evidence there was a chance of settlements rather than merely humiliating and costly losses?
Certain of the lawyers involved have also experienced a bruising month on other fronts after Malaysia’s Chief Justice named both Lim Chee Wee and Rosli Dahlan in a police report, citing texts and evidence which she believed suggested they had implied she could be prevailed upon to rig judgements in their clients’ favour.
Both lawyers have vehemently denied the allegation and have complained that the texts cited by the Chief Justice are fake. The matter, which relates to a pending separate civil case, where it is likely to be raised as evidence, remains under apparent investigation.
Meanwhile, the other bloated claims against the sweeping panoply of targets remain with questions hanging over. The main concern, as often cited by Sarawak Report, is that the entire farrago has been a deliberate distraction to focus minds on a non-existent US$25 billion sitting in the proverbial bush as opposed to two far more solid cases 1MDB ought to be pursuing against IPIC in Abu Dhabi and a member of the Sabah family in Kuwait.
The case against Abu Dhabi has been calculated as being worth just under US$6 billion to Malaysia, money that could equally be lost under the terms of a previous flawed arbitration negotiated by Najib Razak as part of the 1MDB cover-up, if Malaysia does not resume a case that the PN government suspended in the UK courts.
Likewise, up to US$2 billion is frozen by the Kuwaiti authorities but has not been returned to Malaysia owing once again to the PN government’s reluctant to pursue a case against royal collaborators from the Middle East in the thefts from 1MDB.
What is now almost 100% certain, should anyone have been taken in before, is that the loss of such sums through this politically motivated abandonment of the above two suits are not going to be made up for by the pretentious civil claims lodged by Dahlan and 1MDB last month.
Rather, all the signs point to matters becoming only ten times worse as PN gear up to pour countless further billions (RM15 billion at the last opaque count) into the updated scandal known as 5MDB, (the so-called G5 Malaysia Digital Blueprint).
After all, in the midst of the pandemic, Malaysia’s least competent government in history has made it its priority to divert sorely needed public funds into a public managed project that boasts to turn the country into a cutting edge economy that few citizens are ready to buy into.
Or are PN merely taking advantage of the removal of all forms of public scrutiny over spending to divert such funding money into the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, just like BN did with the lesser sums previously involved in 1MDB?
Just asking in the absence of any proper answers.