I have instructed my lawyers to accept service of Apandi’s suit giving Malaysians at last the opportunity to get answers why Apandi had been totally inactive as Malaysian Attorney-General after the US DoJ’s largest kleptocratic forfeiture suit over 1MDB scandal
I have instructed my lawyers, Ramkarpal Singh of Karpal Singh & Co. to accept service of the RM10 million plus defamation suit by the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.
When I read of Apandi’s suit in media yesterday, I have not received Apandi’s statement of claim.
Apandi is asking for RM10 million damages, as well as other damages, for one line in my statement of May 6 during the Sandakan by-election this year where I had asked him to explain why he “aided and abetted” in the 1MDB scandal.
I will contest Apandi’s suit, but it is a matter of relief that Malaysians now will have the opportunity to get answers why Apandi had been totally inactive as Malaysian Attorney-General after the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) filed its largest kleptocratic forfeiture suit (US$1.7 billion out of US$4.5 billion 1MDB-linked assets) over the 1MDB scandal.
Three events in the past five days are foremost in my mind when I think of Apandi’s suit.
Today, it was reported that Hollywood producer Joey McFarland had surrendered several gifts he received from Riza Aziz, the stepson of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, which were allegedly acquired using stolen 1MDB funds.
According to Bloomberg, the items include a vintage French King Kong poster, a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting and several luxury watches.
The value of the items was not stated, but according to the US Department of Justice forfeiture suit, Riza allegedly spent US$5.4 million (RM22.18 million) on collectable movie posters, some of which he gave to McFarland, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and film director Martin Scorsese.
McFarland and Riza co-founded Red Granite Pictures, which financed the film The Wolf of Wall Street starring DiCaprio and directed by Scorsese. The DOJ claimed that Red Granite used stolen 1MDB funds to finance the film.
Last year, the company agreed to pay US$60 million (RM246.5 million) to settle the case, without admission of liability.
Secondly, reports that the board of trustees of the Yayasan Rahah, which was named in Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) 1MDB-related civil forfeiture suit, is seeking an out of court settlement over the matter.
Yayasan Rahah, which is named after former premier Najib Abdul Razak's mother Rahah Mohammad Noah, runs welfare and education programmes for children and the Orang Asli.
According to court documents, the suit against Yayasan Rahah is seeking to forfeit RM839,489.82.
Thirdly, the US Department of Justice is investigating Germany's Deutsche Bank over its involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the probe will look into whether Deutsche Bank violated foreign corruption or anti-money-laundering laws when it helped 1MDB raise US$1.2 billion in 2014.
All these three episodes in the past five days raise a common question: Why was Apandi inactive on the 1MDB scandal when he was Attorney-General?
In fact, when the US DoJ first filed its kleptocratic litigation of forfeiture of 1MDB-linked assets in July 2016, I had occasion to ask Apandi to explain why the 17-point Q&A on the Malaysian Attorney-General’s Chambers website on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for forfeiture of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States had been taken down two days after it was uploaded.
Although the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not named in the DOJ suits, a person referred to as “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” was mentioned 36 times – a person who was identified as the Prime Minister.
As the AGC’s 17-point Q&A as good as acknowledged that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” was Najib, I had asked Apandi to explain why the Attorney-General’s Chambers sought to rebut only 17 of the references to “MALAYSIA OFFICIAL 1” in the US DOJ suits and not to all the 36 references although all the 17 rebuttals were unsatisfactory and unconvincing.
When in June 2017, Apandi reacted in a matter of hours to the expanded US DoJ kleptocratic forfeiture litigation of 1MDB-linked assets, and said there was nothing new and to expressed his regret about “insinuations” against the then Prime Minister in the DOJ’s expanded 1MDB forfeiture suit, I had informed Apandi that they were not “insinuations” but “open and direct charge by the United States Government that the Prime Minister had lied when he claimed that the RM2.6 billion donations had come from Saudi Arabian royalty”.
Noting that Apandi must be quite a speed reader, I asked whether he had read the ten “killer paragraphs” – Paragraph 339 to 348 under the section “$681 MILLION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE TANORE ACCOUNT TO AN ACCOUNT BELONGING TO MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” - in the US DOJ’s latest 1MDB kleptocratic suit to forfeit 1MDB-linked assets because of the crime of money-laundering.
This was because the “killer paragraphs” in the US DoJ suit as good as linked Najib Razak’s RM2.6 billion “donations” to 1MDB money-laundering, debunking the claim that they were donations from Saudi Arab royalty and that US$620 million had been returned to Saudi Arabian donor.
There was only thunderous silence from Apandi at the time.
Now, we can get the answers in the courts.