Tarek Obaid

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is seeking a court order to block PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) and its director Tarek Obaid from using over US$340 million linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) kept in a client’s account at a United Kingdom’s law firm.

The application was filed on July 10  for a prohibition order to restrain any dealings of the monies, amounting US$340, 258,246.87 belonging to PSI and its subsidiary, PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Limited (Incorporated in Barbados) (PSOS-VZ), held in Clyde & Co LLP .

The government is also seeking unspecified money that deposited under an intermediate account name, Temple Fiduciary Services Limited, at Barclays Bank in the UK.

Both the specified and unspecified monies belonged to PSOS-VZ, which was wholly owned by Tarek through PSI.

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 the fifth respondent, respectively.

The application was supported by an affidavit affirmed by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Mohd Afiq Ab Aziz.

Mohd Afiq said he was one of the investigating officers responsible for the 1MDB investigation and in his course of duty, he had uncovered information that has led him to reasonably believe and suspect that the assets being held or deposited abroad were proceeds from illegal activities.

He stated that he had reasonable grounds to believe that the monies amounting to US$340, 258,246.87 as at February 2019, currently held in the escrow account of Clyde & Co on behalf of PSOS-VZ, formed part of the subject matter or evidence in connection with the conspiracy to defraud or fraud, involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Tarek, fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho with other related individuals against 1MDB and its subsidiaries.

“I also have reasons to believe that there are other bank accounts which form part of the subject matter or evidence in connection with the scheme to defraud 1MDB. The bank account that I am referring to is the bank account under the name and/or managed by Temple Fiduciary Services Limited on behalf of the third respondent (PSOS-VZ),” he added.

Mohd Afiq said the application under AMLATFPUAA was to block the monies was appropriate until such a time that the court could definitively determine whether the monies rightfully belong to 1MDB.

The application was fixed for case management today before High Court Deputy Registrar Mahyudin Mohmad Som.

The prosecution, represented by deputy public prosecutors Budiman Lufti Mohamed and Muhammad Izzat Fauzan, told reporters that the application will be heard on July 16 before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Budiman said the prosecution needed to seek a court order here before they could proceed to the next course of action.

“If we (prosecution) get the order here, we will transmit it to the UK through MLA (mutual legal assistance) via diplomatic channel and for the UK authority to register and enforce the prohibition order there,” he said. ― Bernama