KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — Another defence team of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has decided to stop representing him, one of the lawyers confirmed today.
Senior litigator M. Puravalen, who was on the legal team, confirmed that the decision to stop representing Najib was jointly made.
Puravalen also confirmed that the “mutual decision” to part ways was made yesterday and covered the whole team of seven lawyers.
“Yes, mutually agreed. No further comments,” he told Malay Mail when contacted today.
Malay Mail asked Puravalen to confirm the legal team's parting of ways with Najib, the reason for the decision, and who will be the new legal team representing Najib.
Puravalen was reportedly in a seven-man legal team led by former Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.
This is not the first time Najib has parted ways with his legal team since coming under investigation over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal.
On May 21, lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal confirmed that he and fellow lawyer M. Athimulan withdrew themselves from representing Najib, and that a new team led by Datuk Mohd Yusof would take over.
The withdrawal then took place just hours before Najib was due to have his statement recorded the next day by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International, but Harpal had said he was unable to comment why the withdrawal happened so near the MACC meeting.
He had told Malay Mail that the withdrawal was “no big deal” and “happens in matters like this”.
Over the past few days, news reports by local media have emerged with claims that Najib has engaged three top US lawyers to represent him.
The US lawyers that were named are former US attorney-general John Ashcroft, litigator David Boeis and former US prosecutor Matthew Schwartz.
Schwartz's profile at the law firm he is working in states that he was formerly a prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, where he was a senior member of its Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force and was involved in investigating the massive ponzi scam by Bernard Madoff and the related forfeiture of nearly US$9 billion (RM35.7 billion).
He is also stated to have represented Hollywood production company Red Granite Pictures in a lawsuit by the US government over the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, in relation to a “historic US$1 billion civil forfeiture action” said to arise from alleged corruption described by the US Department of Justice as the “biggest 'kleptocracy' case”.
At the time of writing, Malay Mail has yet to be able to verify the claims of the three US lawyers' representation of Najib.