London court proceedings against IPIC still on

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by BERNAMA

ATTORNEY General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun (picture) said court proceedings in London to nullify the settlement agreement between 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) in 2017 are still ongoing.

He said the government is open to options such as out of court settlement if suitable offers are made in line with the government’s principles of ensuring that all of the country’s assets are returned and for justice to be upheld.

“Negotiations are continuously being held between the Malaysian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) governments. This was also carried out by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

“The discussion involves only government officials from both countries without the involvement of anyone else,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The AG was responding to a Sarawak Report (SR) article on Aug 2 claiming that the present Perikatan Nasional government is shelving negotiations with IPIC, allegedly in favour of negotiations by the royal families.

The portal claimed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, is a key figure in discussions held between the two countries.

It alleged that Sultan Abdullah is a friend of UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al Nahyan as both were students at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Opposition lawmaker Tony Pua in a statement on Monday questioned the status of the court proceedings, saying he was “shocked” to learn that the current administration had decided to halt the court proceedings against Abu Dhabi’s IPIC.

He had urged Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to clarify on the matter.

“Hishammuddin has been tasked to negotiate directly with the Abu Dhabi government for ‘another’ settlement,” he said.

“With the litany of quick and sometimes bewildering settlements by the government in cases relating to 1MDB, Malaysians are now concerned that they are once again being taken for a ride.

“Hishammuddin must immediately address these concerns, failing which, the suit against IPIC must be allowed to complete its course to ensure the best possible outcome for the people,” he added.

The PH government had in 2018 filed a suit in London against IPIC to unwind a settlement arrived between them and 1MDB on May 31, 2017.

Under the settlement, which was reached with the intervention of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, IPIC will be repaid the total of US$1.21 trillion by Dec 31, 2017, for the advances it made to 1MDB in June 2015.

Separately, 1MDB and Ministry of Finance Inc had to assume responsibility for all future interest and principal payments under the two bonds issued by 1MDB, amounting to US$3.5 billion, which were previously guaranteed by IPIC, Pua said.

The SR reported that the US$3.5 billion (RM14.77 billion) case against IPIC had been quietly put on hold as both parties have agreed to opt for “a cosy negotiated deal instead”.

Prior to that, the case was put on hold by Judge Robin Knowles to allow further arbitration.

The stay will allow the second round of arbitration, brought by IPIC and its Aabar Investments PJS unit against 1MDB, to go ahead, Knowles said in the judgement.