High Court to hear 1MDB lawyer’s RM50m defamation lawsuit against Lokman Adam in April 2022

Datuk Lokman Noor Adam arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 15, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Lokman Noor Adam arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court July 15, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The High Court will be hearing 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) lawyer Rosli Dahlan’s RM50 million defamation lawsuit against former Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam in April next year.

The High Court has fixed April 1, 2022 for the hearing of Rosli’s defamation suit against Lokman. A check of the courts’ e-filing system shows that April 4, 2022 has also been scheduled for the hearing.

Lawyers Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh and Fakhrul Redha Paridul Adras acted for Lokman in today’s court proceedings while Rosli was represented by Datuk DP Naban and Joseph Wong.

Today was the inter-parte hearing on Rosli’s application for a temporary injunction that would prevent Lokman from making any defamatory statements until the defamation lawsuit is heard and decided on.

The High Court granted Rosli an ex-parte interim injunction on April 5 to prevent Lokman from making any defamatory statements until today’s hearing involving both sides on the interim injunction. It extended the ex-parte order on April 22.

Ex-parte refers to the process in court proceedings where only one party was present, with the interim injunction given in April being until the hearing for Rosli’s inter-parte interim injunction application where both sides are represented, like today.

When contacted, Hariharan told Malay Mail that his client did not apply to set aside the April 5 interim injunction that was given on an ex-parte basis.

He added that Lokman had agreed to the April 22 extension until today’s hearing.

As for the inter-parte interim injunction sought by Rosli until the end of the defamation lawsuit, Hariharan said Lokman’s legal team had today opposed this application in the court hearing.

Among other things, Hariharan said Lokman had removed the first alleged defamatory video against Rosli before the suit was filed on April 2.

He added that Lokman maintains that he had deleted the second alleged defamatory video on the same day after the High Court’s April 5 ex-parte interim injunction.

Hariharan said the High Court allowed Rosli’s application for an inter-parte interim injunction against Lokman today means this order is to be valid until the main defamation lawsuit is heard and decided on.

Hariharan said this interim injunction granted today was for Lokman to remove the second video from his Facebook page, to restrain Lokman or his agent or representative from publishing or republishing both the first and second videos or publishing similar defamatory statements, among other things.

Rosli is a lawyer acting for 1MDB in the company’s efforts to recover funds via settlements.

Rosli filed the suit against Lokman in April, claiming the latter had made various false and defamatory allegations against him. He is seeking RM50 million in compensation.

The allegations made by Lokman were in relation to the alleged legal fee amount or benefits that he claimed Rosli had received over Goldman Sachs’ or Ambank’s deals to settle 1MDB matters with the Malaysian government, as well as a purported kickback to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. Rosli said these allegations are untrue.

Rosli lodged police reports on March 23 against three individuals, including Lokman, over their alleged defamation.

In the police reports, Rosli said 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 said it was defamatory to claim that he received a 10 per cent commission or RM283 million over Ambank’s settlement.

He asserted 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 said he received a far lower fee and that he had even given a discount on the usual rates he usually charged other commercial clients.

He added that he was paid six months after the settlement without any late payment charges being imposed, and even advanced high logistics costs in the matter.

On March 26, Rosli sent out letters of demand to the same three individuals, including Lokman.

He demanded each of them retract or remove the alleged defamatory statements and provide a written apology, as well as an undertaking not to repeat the remarks.

He also demanded RM10 million in compensation from each of the three. His lawyers followed up by saying that legal action would be taken against them if the demands were not met by March 29.

Lokman was previously reported to have deleted a video that contained the alleged defamatory statements after receiving the letter of demand.

Rosli later filed a RM50 million suit for aggravated and exemplary damages from Lokman as he claimed that the latter had failed to remove a second video which allegedly repeated the defamatory remarks.

On April 5, the High Court granted an interim injunction sought by Rosli against Lokman to prevent any defamatory actions being taken pending the hearing of the defamation lawsuit.

On April 22, the High Court further extended the interim injunction order. It was also reported that Lokman’s lawyers had informed the court then that their client had deleted both videos that allegedly carried the defamatory remarks.

Following the extended interim injunction, a full injunction was granted today by the High Court.

Separately, Rosli also issued a letter of demand to anti-corruption watchdog Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) on March 29 over alleged defamatory posts made on March 25 on Twitter and Facebook, and demanded an apology, removal of the posts and RM10 million in compensation.

In a July 2 announcement by Rosli’s law firm, it was announced that C4 Center made an unreserved, unequivocal and unconditional public apology to him in a statement dated May 21.

Among other things, C4 Center admitted the falsity of the social media posts and said it had immediately removed them upon receiving his demand on March 29.

It also expressed regret over the damage caused to Rosli’s reputation as a “highly professional and ethical lawyer” through the false posts that it acknowledged had taken a life of its own and had been reproduced, reposted, retweeted and shared and gone viral on other platforms.

C4 Center further said it had failed to verify the posts and admitted that they were defamatory and baseless.

It agreed that there was no basis to allege that Rosli had illegally or unjustly profited by pocketing monies in relation to the 1MDB asset recovery efforts nor claim he had defrauded the Malaysian public by pocketing monies intended to settle the investment company’s liabilities.

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