Report: US court bins PetroSaudi CEO’s bid to escape DoJ suit

04-Oct-2018 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A US district court struck out PetroSaudi International chief executive Tarek Obaid’s application to remove himself from the US Justice Department’s (DoJ) kleptocracy action over 1MDB.

According to the Malaysiakini news portal, this was Obaid’s second such attempt following another rejection on August 30. However, his request to certify an interlocutory order so that it can be challenged in an appellate court was allowed.

The DoJ reportedly launched the civil action to forfeit Obaid’s 2,500,000 shares in software engineering firm Palantir Technologies based on claims he purchased them using money allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

PSI and 1MDB entered an abortive $2.5 billion (RM10.3 billion) joint venture in 2012 for which the Malaysian firm still “paid” the former $700 million, except that the sum went to Good Star Ltd, a firm whose main beneficiary is alleged to be Low Taek Jho.

Obaid is contending that the Central California District Court, the venue of the lawsuit, has no authority over the case and that the suit to seize the Palantir stocks should be dismissed.

He further argued via his lawyers that the stocks were held outside the US, owned by a non-resident foreign national, and with the transaction executed on foreign soil.

In the written judgment dated September 24, Judge Dale S. Fisher dismissed the motion after concluding that it did not satisfy the court’s rules for reconsidering its decisions.

“Even putting aside Local Rule 7-18, Obaid would not succeed on a motion for reconsideration. Obaid did not raise a personal jurisdiction argument with respect to the res a Latin term for ‘thing”, including movables, immovables, stock certificates and real property [the Palantir stocks] in his moving brief,” Fisher was quoted as saying.

Fisher noted that the same deficiencies had been present in Obaid’s original reply and said it was unclear that there were new arguments to support his contention that he was not subject to the jurisdiction.

“There is no reason to revisit the issue,” the judge concluded.

However, Fisher agreed that there was sufficient cause to certify the matter for interlocutory appeal as there are significant grounds for disagreement.

“The case is also well-suited for interlocutory appeal because it is already stayed indefinitely pending resolution of the related criminal investigation,” she added.

The DoJ was instructed to file a notification of the ruling to all 1MDB-related cases, which the department reportedly complied with today.


Category: Malaysia

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