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Saudi national Tarek Obaid appoints law firm to represent him in 1MDB suit

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 8): Saudi national Tarek Obaid, who runs PetroSaudi International Ltd and PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd, has appointed Messrs Chong + Kheng Hoe to represent him in the US$1.83 billion suit filed by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) against him, his companies and several foreign financial institutions.

Besides this, as reported in The Edge weekly, PetroSaudi International and PetroSaudi Holdings have appointed Messrs Wong Kian Kheong to represent them.

Lawyers from both law firms put in a request to High Court senior assistant registrar Syeela Marlina Uttaman on Monday for an extension of time to file their defence, saying they needed time to obtain instructions from their clients.

Jaslyn Saw Wei Wen appeared for Tarek, while Cheah Kha Mun appeared for the two companies. 1MDB was represented by Kong Xin Qing from Messrs Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnerships, while Melvin Ng Yet Ting from Messrs Rahmat, Lim & Partners appeared for Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Bhd, one of the financial institutions named in the suit.

Syeela Marlina subsequently directed PetroSaudi and Tarek's lawyers to file their defence on or before Jan 7, 2021, and for 1MDB to file its reply to them on Feb 7, 2022. 1MDB filed its reply to Deutsche Bank's defence last Nov 5.

Also fixed was the next case management, to be held on Nov 22, before Judicial Commissioner Quay Chew Soon.

1MDB is suing Deutsche Bank, two Swiss banks — Coutts & Co Ltd in Zurich and JP Morgan Ltd in Geneva — the two PetroSaudi firms, Tarek, as well as his right-hand man Patrick Mahony, for negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, conspiracy and dishonest assistance.

The suit follows the fraudulent transfer of at least US$1.83 billion from 1MDB to PetroSaudi and Tarek on the pretext that 1MDB was purchasing equity stakes in energy projects that PetroSaudi International had allegedly secured in its venture overseas. However, these projects did not exist.

The suit is part of six suits seeking over US$23 billion filed by 1MDB on May 7 against various individuals and companies that it alleged were involved in the siphoning of funds from the investment fund in a financial scandal that spanned several countries. In addition, its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd had filed another 16 suits against various individuals; former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and other office bearers.

Last month, 1MDB obtained a court order from Quay to serve the court documents out of jurisdiction on Coutts, JPMorgan, Tarek, Mahony, PetroSaudi International and PetroSaudi Holdings, as they are based overseas.

8 November 2021

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