CEO Morning Brief

1MDB: Rosmah Bought Jewellery and Handbags Worth US$346m From 48 Vendors in 14 Countries

Publish date: Wed, 12 Jun 2024, 10:56 AM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief

KUALA LUMPUR (June 11): Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor had allegedly acquired jewellery, handbags and other luxury items purchased using 1Malaysia Development Bhd and SRC International Sdn Bhd funds worth close to US$350 million (RM1.6 billion) from 48 different vendors in at least 14 countries.

This was revealed in the 515-page statement of claim (SOC) by 1MDB, its four subsidiaries, along with SRC International, which was filed last week via Messrs Lim Chee Wee Partnership, where among others, it alleged that 320 transactions led to the purchases made with funds taken between 2010 and 2014.

“Eight entities registered in offshore jurisdictions made 320 payments totalling US$346.01 million to 48 different vendors of luxury goods based in no less than 14 jurisdictions and were received by the first defendant (Rosmah),” the SOC said.

“These payments are traceable to and/or represent the monies misappropriated from 1MDB and its four subsidiaries and SRC International, that is, the funds misappropriated between 2010 and 2014,” it added.

The four 1MDB subsidiaries — 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd, 1MDB Energy Ltd, 1MDB Energy (Langat) Ltd and Global Diversified Investment Company Ltd, formerly known as 1MDB Global Investments Ltd — are named as joint plaintiffs in the suit along with SRC International.

The companies claimed that funds from 1MDB and SRC were fraudulently transferred out to entities registered in offshore jurisdictions which had no connection with or served no legitimate purpose with regards to investments objectives by these companies.

“These entities as well the transactions between them involving the fund, served no legitimate commercial purpose other than to act as a conduit for the onward movement and diversion of the funds to obscure final destinations,” the SOC added.

The SOC listed the 48 vendors as from the British Virgin Islands (one), Hong Kong (nine), India (four), Indonesia (two), Italy (three), Lebanon (three), Mauritius (one), Panama (one), Singapore (one), Thailand (two), United Arab Emirates (seven), Türkiye (two), the UK (two) and the US (seven).

It also listed three other vendors where the items were purchased from unknown countries.

The funds were misappropriated from the PetroSaudi International-Goodstar Ltd phase, the 1MDB-Tanore phase, and the SRC International phase which saw some RM4 billion Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) funds being taken.

Eight offshore entities that received funds made payments to vendors

In the SOC, 1MDB and SRC International claimed that the eight offshore entities that received the funds that are not related to the company include Aabar Seychelles, Affinity Equity International Partners Ltd (Affinity), Alsen Chance Holdings Ltd, Blackrock Commodities Global Ltd, Blackstone Real Estate Partners Ltd, Brightstone Jewellery Ltd, Good Star Ltd and World Merit Management Ltd.

Currently, liquidation proceedings are being conducted against Aabar, Affinity, Alsen Chance, Blackrock Commodities, Blackstone Real Estate and Brightstone.

The legal document claimed that Aabar made two transactions and paid two vendors to the sum of US$1.747 million, Affinity (two transactions paid to two vendors at a sum of US$2 million), Alsen Chance (88 transactions paid to 30 vendors for a sum of US$79.437 million), Blackrock (99 transactions paid to 23 vendors to a sum of US$149.403 million), Blackstone (four transactions to four vendors to a sum of US$4.712 million), Brightstone (120 transactions to 23 vendors to a sum of US$97.483 million), Good Star (four transactions to three vendors to a sum of US$7.125 million) and World Merit (one transaction to one vendor for US$4.1 million).

All eight entities are said to have acted as intermediaries and made payments for those luxury goods to the 48 vendors from 14 countries using 1MDB and SRC International funds, for Rosmah’s benefit.

The SOC claimed that the 1MDB and SRC funds were first diverted to fiduciaries and trustees that were controlled by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, his father Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng, and Rosmah's husband, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Among the 48 vendors whom these entities paid for Rosmah’s luxury items include New York-based A Arslanian LLC, Jacob & Co, Lunadiam NYC LLC, Lorraine E Schwartz Inc and Samilor Enterprises Inc; UK-based Chatila Ltd and David Morris International Ltd; Italy-based Picchiotti SRL and RCM SRL; and others from Hong Kong, UAE and India.

The SOC provided full details of the payments made by the eight entities to these vendors.

What 1MDB and SRC is seeking from Rosmah

The companies which are plaintiffs in the suit are seeking first and foremost for a recovery of the luxury goods, their traceable proceeds, a declaration that Rosmah received the luxury goods for no consideration that were transferred to her in breach of fiduciary duties or breach of trust.

Alternatively, it seeks to recover the sum of US$346.010 million or approximately RM1.632 billion for the cost of the luxury goods that Rosmah received from the six plaintiffs.

Also named in the suit is Singaporean Shabnam Naraindas Daswani @ Natasha Mirpuri, who is also named as a defendant for having purchased or procured the luxury goods for Rosmah.

The SOC further claimed that this suit follows a failed forfeiture application by the authorities following the Pavilion condo raid. The legal document stated that after obtaining the OBYU Holdings Sdn Bhd forfeiture application cause papers, the plaintiffs and liquidators could begin their investigation and initiate discovery applications against the vendors in Hong Kong, the US and UK.

"This investigation is also ongoing, and the plaintiffs reserve their rights to amend the SOC and other cause papers where necessary," the document stated.

OBYU Holdings Sdn Bhd owned the property in which the thousands of jewellery and handbags were retrieved. In November 2022, the application to forfeit and seize the items were dismissed by the High Court and there was no appeal filed to appeal the High Court’s decision.

The High Court had ordered the plaintiffs to file the SOC this month, after it filed the writ of summons on May 10.

Rosmah has been directed to file her defence to the suit by July 4.

Besides this, the plaintiffs have also filed for an injunction application to be heard.

Source: TheEdge - 12 Jun 2024

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