Ex-1MDB CEO Arul Kanda drops suit after MACC unfreezes bank accounts

Kenneth Tee
Arul Kanda’s lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan speaks to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex August 21, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has lifted a freeze order on bank accounts belonging to former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Lawyer Datuk N. Sivanathan who is representing Arul Kanda, withdrew today a motion at the High Court to unfreeze his client’s bank accounts after they were frozen since July 12, 2018 as the issue has become academic.

Sivanathan said the MACC lifted the order on Arul Kanda’s accounts that dealt with the transaction of shares late evening yesterday, following an application to challenge the freeze filed on August 19.

“As such I am withdrawing the motion. 

“I have also received further instructions from my client in the event the accounts were unfreeze to no longer pursue the particular case to seek damages,” he said.

High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan then proceeded to strike out the motion.

In the motion, Arul Kanda had applied for general damages and other relief deemed fit by the court for the loss of investment opportunities due to the freezing of the accounts.

When met by reporters outside of court, Sivananthan said all of his client’s nine bank accounts including two Maybank Central Depository System (CDS) bank accounts were initially frozen by the MACC under Section 44 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

“The law provides the MACC to freeze bank accounts but for only a year period.

“Because nothing was done, there were no prosecution or forfeiture action under the Act carried out within the one-year period, we then wrote to the MACC to unfreeze them,” he said.

He said his client then filed the application against the MACC for its failure to lift the freeze order after a 12-month period which had expired on July 12.

Explaining further, Sivananthan said today’s application was for the MACC to unfreeze the final two CDS bank accounts belonging to his client. 

“As it stands now, none of my client’s accounts are frozen. All accounts have been released,” he said.

Similar to saving accounts that safekeep cash, CDS accounts are bank accounts that safekeep share holdings.

For example, shares bought or sold to a public listed company will be transacted in CDS accounts.

Sivanathan also said the accounts’ freezing had nothing to do with his client’s upcoming joint trial with Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the alleged tampering of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) final audit report set for November.

Najib was charged last December 12 with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.

Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect the Pekan MP from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB, at the same place and time.

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