KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 ― The High Court has postponed hearing the application for an order prohibiting a PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) unit from accessing US$340 million (RM1.45 billion) of alleged 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds held in escrow in the UK.
The court previously granted an interim order barring former PSI and former executive Tarek Obaid from accessing it but later allowed PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Limited to use these for its business expenses.
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali postponed the hearing to September 15, with written submissions due one day prior.
Earlier, Tarek’s lawyer Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden and PetroSaudi Venezuela representative Alex Tan Chie Sian argued they received several lengthy affidavits just days prior and needed sufficient time to examine these.
Deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed countered that the defence already had a week to get their documents in order, and stressed he needed to time the hearings to coincide with related injunction proceedings in the UK on September 16.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and British investigators filed for the injunction last month to prevent Tarek and PSI from withdrawing the funds held in escrow by the Clyde & Co LLP firm in the UK.
“September 16 is the Court date in the UK, my lord, and it is outside our jurisdiction. If this case is postponed beyond the 16th, all this would be for nothing and there will be nothing stopping the respondents from withdrawing the funds,” Lutfi argued.
Tan responded by saying his client has not withdrawn any of the funds despite successfully amending the previous interim order that prevented them from doing so.
The lawyer said all the funds were still in escrow and would remain there for the duration of this matter.
“My client has complied with everything this Court has asked, hence there is no reason to say there is prejudice on our part.”
Nazlan then decided on the postponement.
On July 16, the High Court here granted the MACC an interim order prohibiting any movement of the contested funds in the UK, which the agency then used to apply for an injunction through the UK court system.
However, the same court accepted PetroSaudi Venezuela’s application to amend the interim order a month later, allowing it to withdraw the same funds that investigators alleged to have been misappropriated from 1MDB.
The Malaysian government’s current action was launched under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Tarek was also named as a respondent as the co-founder of PetroSaudi International Ltd, the parent company of PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela).
He has been accused of involvement in the 1MDB scandal but has maintained his innocence throughout.