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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

What the rich and the connected are up to in Malaysia!

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Naza family in tussle over London property

Alyaa Azhar
 | December 11, 2013
The property in dispute was acquired by late tycoon SM Nasimuddin SM Amin after inking a swap agreement with former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's son.
PETALING JAYA: A delay to cement a swap agreement between late tycoon SM Nasimuddin SM Amin and Kamaluddin Abdullah, son of former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has caused Nasimuddin’s sister to be evicted from her home in London.
With that, Nasimuddin’s sister Norashikin SM Amin is now embroiled in a legal battle in the UK with her brother’s first wife for a property worth £1.65 million.
According to court documents seen by FMT, the fiasco started way back in 2005 when the Malaysian government proposed to sell some of Proton Sdn Bhd’s (Proton) shares due to the national carmaker’s dismal performance.
Nasimuddin, who was Naza Group founder, was said to be interested to acquire the stocks and discussed the matter with Kamaluddin, who is said to have knowledge of the plan.
And opportunity struck when Malaysia Airlines (MAS) announced that it planned to sell its property in London, known as the ‘MAS property’ valued at £3.25m. The sale caught the attention of Kamaluddin.
Thus, Kamaluddin had asked Nasimuddin to purchase the property on his behalf, as the former’s direct involvement would cause political repercussions on his father.
In return, Kamaluddin assured Nasimuddin that he would facilitate the tycoon’s purchase of Proton’s shares.
Nasimuddin agreed to the deal and purchased the MAS property through his subsidiary company, ACE Elite Management Inc (ACE).
However, Nasimuddin told Kamaluddin to transfer the £1.65m property belonging to the latter, with some cash payment, to reflect the difference of the MAS property.
And Kamaluddin agreed to transfer the second property and the cash payment through his company, Feldspar Holdings Limited.
Unfortunately, Nasimuddin passed away in May 2008, before the swap agreement could be finalised.
Nasimuddin’s sister Norashikin, who facilitated the swap agreement, claimed that Nasimuddin had promised to give Kamaluddin’s property to her in 2007 once the deal was sealed, in return for her hard work.
She was responsible for transactional work which included vetting of documents on behalf of Nasimuddin, liaising with solicitors, advising on the commercial viability of the sale and collecting the keys to the MAS property.
Norashikin is also a lawyer and was employed by Nasimuddin as Naza’s head of group legal adviser from 2004 to 2006.
Eviction proceedings
The purchase of the MAS property was completed by ACE in 2006. Subsequently, Kamaluddin moved in to the MAS property. Nasimuddin’s sister moved in to the second property in 2009.
But with Nasimuddin’s death in 2008, without naming the sister as the property owner in a will, left her in a lurch.
The swap agreement was completed in May 2013, incorporating Feldspar into Nasimuddin’s multi-billion ringgit estate.
But Norashikin claimed that her sister-in-law had isolated her from the estate and was trying to evict her from the property, using Feldspar as a vehicle.
“My brother put a lot of pressure on me in the litigation process of the swap agreement. Without a doubt, it was a key reason my marriage began to fail, and he knew it.
“So, as my elder brother, Nasimuddin wanted to compensate me for the sacrifices I made and ensure I was financially independent,” she said in her witness claim.
The case was filed by Feldspar to initiate eviction proceedings against Norashikin and her children from the property by a summary judgment application.
However Norashikin is challenging this eviction by claiming funds in cash for unpaid work and the property which is worth about £1.6 million).
Her basis of the claim is the unfulfilled promise made by Nasim before his death.
The matter came up before the West London County Court on Dec 4 but has been adjourned to another date following an application by Norashikin to add her sister-in-law as a party to the suit.
Her application has been allowed despite objections from lawyers appearing for Feldspar. The matter is now expected to be heard next year.

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