KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has dropped its US$1 billion civil suit against law firm Wong & Partners and its partner Brian Chia Hock Gee over their advisory work in relation to 1MDB.
The sovereign investment firm withdrew its suit on July 19 through law firm Lim Chee Wee Partnership without the liberty to file afresh with the order endorsed by High Court deputy registrar Siti Aisyah Ahmad, The Edge reported on its website today.
“We can confirm that the suit against Wong & Partners and Brian Chia Hock Gee under the KL High Court Suit No: WA-22NCC-211-05/2021 was withdrawn by the plaintiff, without liberty to file afresh. This was made on July 19," Wong & Partners managing partner Munir Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying in an email to The Edge.
1MDB had sued the law firm, along with its senior partner Chia, purportedly for breach of contractual, statutory, common law and fiduciary duties, as well as dishonest assistance that led to misappropriation of funds from the group.
Former judge-turned-lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram previously said he had to defend Chia as the latter was a prosecution witness in the ongoing 1MDB trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is facing four counts of abuse of power charges and 21 counts of money-laundering charges in relation to more than RM2 billion funds.
Sri Ram is also appointed to lead the prosecution in criminal trials relating to the 1MDB scandal against Najib.
On May 10, the Finance Ministry confirmed that 1MDB had filed six lawsuits against a total of nine entities and 25 individuals for various alleged wrongdoings and that 1MDB’s former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd had filed 16 lawsuits against a total of eight entities and 15 individuals for various alleged wrongdoings.
The ministry said the 22 lawsuits filed by 1MDB and SRC on May 7 were to seek for the recovery of assets totalling more than RM96.6 billion (US$23 billion), adding that the two companies claim that the entities and individuals sued had allegedly been unjustly enriched by wrongfully receiving monies from the two companies.
According to The Edge, one of the 22 suits named Wong & Partners and Chia. 1MDB is seeking a US$1 billion sum and legal fees of RM664,821.21 for their alleged role in the 1MDB matter.
The news portal also reported that those who were sued in the six lawsuits by 1MDB include Najib, Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, former 1MDB CEOs Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Arul Kanda Kandasamy, fugitive Low Taek Jho and his father and sister and associate Eric Tan Kim Loong, Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Ltd, Coutts & Co Ltd, JP Morgan (Switzerland) Ltd and two PetroSaudi firms.