Malaysia

Court quashes subpoenas against Anwar, Hong Leong boss

April 06, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Hong Leong Finance Berhad (HLFB) won an order today to quash subpoenas issued to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and its chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan by a businessman who claims he was the nominee of the opposition leader for a RM445 million syndicated loan.

The High Court here said Anwar (picture), who was deputy prime minister when the loan was issued in 1997, and the tycoon were not material witnesses and could not help establish the facts of the case.

In 1998, HLFB filed a suit against Low Thiam Hoe, named as a sole defendant, for RM28.6 million for allegedly failing to repay its loan.

In 1999, Low filed a counter-claim against HLFB, HLG Capital Markets Sdn Bhd and Hong Leong Credit Bhd’s former CEO Seow Lun Hoo, asking for damages for alleged wrongful or negligent advice.

Low has said in his defence that a loan agreement was entered by him as part of a larger transaction by the lenders — the syndicate of bankers and financiers — to finance the majority shareholders of Arus Murni Corporation Bhd which owns Kewangan Bersatu Bhd (KBB).

He told the court last month he was the victim in the 1997 deal where he was assisting Anwar and Quek but admitted he had nothing in black and white to prove he was simply a nominee of the then finance minister.

He claimed that two individuals, including Mohd Faiz Abdullah, who he said was Anwar’s speechwriter, approached him in March 1997 and said they were from Arus Murni and acting on behalf of the PKR de facto leader and Quek.

Low said that HLFB, through Quek, was then pushing to acquire KBB, which was at the time acquired by Arus Murni from one Ishak Ismail for RM390 million.

He said he agreed to be a nominee, or “conduit”, for the syndicated loan transaction.