Parties in govt’s bid to freeze 1MDB-related US$340 mln fund still negotiating a settlement

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is still in the process of negotiating with several parties, including PetroSaudi International Limited (PSI) and PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Limited (PSOS-VZ), in its application to freeze over US$340 million of alleged 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds kept in a client’s account at a UK law firm.

Lawyer Alex Tan, appearing for PSOS-VZ informed Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali this during the case management proceeding today.

“I believe the parties are still in the midst of finding an alternative to resolve this matter and will be needing more time. We humbly request for another mention date before this court for us to update if the negotiations are successful,” said the lawyer.

Deputy public prosecutor, Budiman Lutfi Mohamed confirmed the matter.

In response to this, judge Mohd Nazlan questioned the lawyer if there had been any real progress in their ongoing discussions.

“There have been serious exchange of correspondence between us until last week but I am still getting instructions from the client.

“We also had a face-to-face meeting together with the government representatives before the commencement of the recent Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) on Oct 14,” said Tan.

After hearing the progress from both parties, the court set Feb 4, 2021 for case management pending updates on the ongoing negotiations.

On July 16, Justice Mohd Nazlan granted the government’s application for an interim order to block PSI, its director Tarek Obaid and its subsidiary, PSOS-VZ from moving the monies linked to 1MDB and kept in a client’s account at the United Kingdom-based law firm, to other entities.

The interim order is to maintain the status quo of parties until the disposal of the government’s prohibition application seeking an order to restrain any dealings of the monies belonging to PSI and PSOS-VZ which are currently in an escrow account held by Clyde & Co LLP in the UK.

Besides the US$340 million, the government, in its application is also seeking unspecified money that was deposited under an intermediate account name, Temple Fiduciary Services Limited, at Barclays Bank in the UK.

The application, filed under Section 53 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA), named Tarek, PSI, PSOS-VZ, Clyde & Co and Temple Fiduciary as the first to fifth respondents.

On Aug 19, Justice Mohd Nazlan allowed PSOS-VZ to access US$1.357 million out of the US$340 million after allowing the company’s application to amend the interim order which prohibited it from moving the monies to other entities.

PSOS-VZ sought to vary the terms of the interim order for part of the monies to be released to pay for business expenses and legal costs.

The US$1.357 million is to be paid to UK-based law firm Kerman & Co following the conclusion of the arbitration by the company.-Bernama

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