1MDB lawyer demands RM10m compensation, social media posts removal in 48 hours by watchdog C4 Centre

Lawyer Rosli Dahlan is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex June 18, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Lawyer Rosli Dahlan is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex June 18, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Lawyer Rosli Dahlan who acts for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in the company’s efforts to recover funds via settlements has issued a legal letter to anti-corruption watchdog Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre) over alleged defamatory posts on Twitter and Facebook.

In the letter of demand dated today and sighted by Malay Mail, Rosli is demanding for C4 Centre to remove the alleged defamatory posts and to agree to pay RM10 million in compensation.

The 1MDB lawyer is also demanding for C4 Centre to provide an unequivocal public apology to be published prominently and immediately on its website, Facebook page and Twitter account, and to have all news portals which had posted the allegedly defamatory materials to also post the same apology with the same prominence.

Rosli’s lawyers also demanded for C4 Centre to provide written undertakings to not repeat the same or similar statements that were allegedly defamatory, while also saying that failure to comply with the demands within 48 hours would result in legal action to obtain orders such as injunctions and compensation.

Rosli’s lawyers also told C4 Centre that its statements in the allegedly defamatory posts are “false, untrue, unwarranted, unsubstantiated, defamatory, malicious and mischievous” and had harmed his reputation, further claiming that the remarks amount to an offence of criminal defamation which is punishable under Section 500 of the Penal Code.

In the letter of demand, Rosli’s lawyers highlighted a statement that was posted on both C4 Centre’s Twitter and Facebook page on March 25.

The lawyers said the social media posts by C4 Centre carried the meaning, among other things, that, Rosli had purportedly siphoned funds from the Goldman Sachs settlement to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and that it had also implied him to purportedly be a corrupt person.

But Rosli’s lawyers said that C4 Centre’s statements and any implied meaning from the statements are false and “completely baseless” and “mere fabrications”, adding that the remarks had or have the potential to injure Rosli’s reputation and had significantly prejudiced him.

Rosli’s lawyers also highlighted that Bersatu’s secretary-general and Bersatu’s information chief had respectively on March 6 and March 20 denied allegations of kickbacks of RM500 million, but claimed that C4 Centre had still went on to publish the March 25 social media posts without first verifying the matter.

Rosli’s lawyers also highlighted that 1MDB had on March 26 issued a public statement to explain that the company’s lawyers “are remunerated based on a pre-agreed time cost, and not based on commission or a percentage of the value of settlements, or assets recovered”.

The lawyers went on to say that the C4 Centre had not removed the March 25 posts on Twitter and Facebook despite the 1MDB statement on March 26, accusing C4 Centre of having posted the posts in alleged “pursuit of cheap publicity”.

Previously on March 23, Rosli had lodged a police report against three persons over their alleged defamatory remarks against him, which he had said could amount to various offences including criminal defamation.

In that police report, Rosli had denied all the allegations made by former Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Lokman Noor Adam on March 16 and March 20 as untrue, including the allegation that he was purportedly paid 10 per cent — of Goldman Sachs’ and Ambank’s settlements to the Malaysian government over the 1MDB matter — as legal fees to enable the channelling of funds to Bersatu.

Rosli had also in the police report denied allegations made by Kuang state assemblyman Sallehudin Amiruddin including that he had purportedly paid RM500 million to Bersatu as commission, as well as the contents of a police report lodged by Sallehudin and the latter’s aide Mohd Hanizam Yunus.

In the same police report, Rosli had made various clarifications, saying that he was appointed by 1MDB to be its lawyer, and that it was malicious and false to claim that he had purportedly received high fees to enable kickbacks of RM500 million to be channelled to Bersatu and also stating that the fees he receive would not even amount to such a figure.

Among other things, Rosli had said it was defamatory to claim that he received a 10 per cent commission or RM283 million over Ambank’s settlement, clarifying that his legal fees for this matter would be based on time spent and that he would only be paid after 1MDB receives the settlement.

As for the Goldman Sachs settlement which he was alleged to have received 10 per cent or RM1.7 billion, Rosli had said in the police report that this was defamatory as he received a far lower fee than this and that he had even given a discount on the usual rates he usually charged other commercial clients, further adding that he had even advanced high logistics costs in the matter and that he was paid six months after the settlement without any late payment charges being imposed.

On March 26, Rosli’s lawyers sent three separate letters of demand to Lokman, Sallehudin and Mohd Hanizam, demanding each of them to retract or remove the alleged defamatory statements and to provide a written apology, as well as an undertaking not to repeat the remarks and to agree to pay RM10 million in compensation each.  

In the letters of demand, it was stated that Rosli’s lawyers would proceed with legal action if the demands were not complied with by the close of business on March 29.

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